I’ve written before on Future Horizon’s regular reviews of the state of the semiconductor industry. (The four horsemen). Malcolm Penn, the firm’s founder and CEO, is normally fairly up-beat, but yesterday he was wearing black. Given the state of the world economy he sees the market for semiconductor sales as essentially flat in dollars. Given that unit shipments are maintaining their 29 years of 10% annual growth, the average selling price (ASP) is falling, again another long term trend. The result is that chip companies are going to feel a profitability squeeze, with the probable result of more take-overs. The big concern is what will happen when the world’s economy improves. Classically chip demand increases rapidly in an improving economy. There is very little slack in fabrication capacity and very little current investment in new capacity, prices will rise dramatically (as will profits!) but some companies will have orders for products, but nowhere to build them.
We are still on the roller coaster folks.