Sony, Nvidia shine in a tough year for chip companies

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Sony, Nvidia shine in a tough year for chip companies

El Segundo (CA) – 2007 was not really an enjoyable year for most chip companies, especially if they depend on DRAM sales. Huge price swings brought huge losses, but several companies not only weathered the storm, but saw big gains: Sony and Nvidia were the fastest growing semiconductor companies last year, according to iSuppli.

Sony’s revenue growth stands out in the market research firm’s ranking as the company increased its sales by 56% from about $5.1 billion in 2006 to $8.0 billion last year. Sony heavily profited from surging internal chip sales, thanks to its Playstation 3 game console. Sony climbed through ranks and is now listed as the 8th largest chip company worldwide.

Further down in the list there is Nvidia with 34.4% revenue growth to a total of $3.5 billion. The graphics chip maker is now ranked as #20 in the list. Other companies that did well were Qualcomm, which is the first fables company that actually has a shot to enter the global top 10 of chip makers. The company gained 24.1% to $5.6 billion and is at position #13.

Flash sales boosted Infineon’s revenues by 21.1% to $6.2 billion and lifted the company from #15 to #9. Toshiba profited both from an increase in flash sales as well as chip production for the Playstation 3 and saw its revenues jump by 20% $12.2 billion. Toshiba is still listed as #4, but has closed the gap to Texas Instruments, which suffered a 2.6% decrease in revenues to $12.3 billion.

Qimonda, which was heavily exposed to the downturn in the DRAM market and AMD, which has been battling Intel for market shares in the microprocessor market for most the year, were the two companies with the most dramatic revenue declines. AMD saw a 21.2% decrease to $5.9 billion and dropped from #8 to #10 in the ranking. Qimonda’s revenue dropped by 26.0% to $4.0 billion.