MEMS microphone providers see big market opps, big competition

Yole Développement released a new report, MEMS Microphone, presenting MEMS microphones technologies, the related supply chain and its key players. Yole Développement also analyses the MEMS microphones applications and markets including worldwide market metrics from 2010 to 2016 and market shares. What are the key technologies challenges? What will be the evolution of such market?

Micro electromechanical system (MEMS) microphones are already widely used in consumer applications (cell phones, laptops). More and more mobile phones are using 2 or more MEMS microphones for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). Other consumer products such as laptops, camcorders etc. are using MEMS microphones arrays (2,4 or 6 microphones) for the multidirectional function.

"The mobile phone market is still the largest consumer of MEMS microphones. With the penetration of MEMS microphones in the iPhone 4 and other smart phones, Yole estimates rapid growth of the market in 2011-2016. By 2013, shipments will increase to over 1 billion units and more than 2 billion units by 2016," explains Wenbin Din, market analyst at Yole Développement, who authored the report.

Knowles is the market leader with more than 80% market share. Even though competitors are growing, such as AAC Acoustic Technologies, Hosiden and BSE, how to compete with Knowles remains the big question for the rest of the players in this industry.

More companies with new products will try to compete against Knowles, through new design, new packaging and new software enabling key functions. 2011 is a very important year with multiple launches of new devices by existing MEMS microphone companies: Analog Devices, Akustica, TDK-EPC, Wolfson Technologies, etc.

Companies cited in the report:

AAC Acoustic Technologies, Akustica/Bosch, Analog Devices, APM, Apogee, Apple, ASE, AudioPixels, Auxitrol, AvagoTech, B&K, BenQ, BSE, Continental, CSIL, CSMC-Tech, Draper Lab, Goertek, Google, GMEMS, Hosiden, Infineon, INN, Knowles acoustics, LG, Lingsen Pecision Industries, MEMSensing, MEMSTech, Merry electronics, Microflown, MosArt Packaging, Motorola, NASA, NCT, Nokia, NXP, Omron, Panasonic, Phone Or, Samsung, Siemens, Silicon Matrix, Solid State System, ST Microelectronics, Tong Hsing, TDK-EPC, Toshiba, UMC, VK mobile, VTT Electronics, Wolfson, Xfab, Yamaha

Infineon has turned into a microphone die supplier and works with Asian MEMS microphone players. Other companies are trying to become microphone manufacturers instead of just foundries (MEMSTech, for example). Some players say that it is just a step of transition to buy microphone dies from others.

The access to MEMS microphone original design will be more and more important in the future and we can expect both strong R&D projects and also M&A to get access to MEMS design and manufacturing capabilities. The Yole report offers a more in-depth discussion on this scope and key strategic evolution of the industry.

IP rights and packaging patents are critical for manufacturers to achieve performance and cost goals. This report will include a special focus here, describing recent disputes of main players.

Wenbin Din is responsible for MEMS market research at Yole Développement. She previously worked at research center CEA Grenoble (France). She holds a Microelectronics Engineering degree from the National Engineering School in Caen, plus a Master Degree in Business Administration from IAE Caen, France.

For more information on this report, visit

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