Texas Instruments was again the leading supplier of analog devices in 2014 with $8.1 billion in sales, and increased its analog marketshare to 18 percent, according to rankings of top suppliers of major IC product categories found in IC Insights’ April Update to The McClean Report 2015. The top 10 analog IC suppliers accounted for 57 percent of total analog sales in 2014, up slightly from 56 percent in 2013. Among the top suppliers, six companies on the list had sales in excess of $2.0 billion and three others exceeded $1.0 billion in analog sales last year. (Renesas again fell short of the $1.0 billion mark.) Among the top suppliers, Skyworks Solutions (42 percent), NXP (21 percent), and Texas Instruments (13 percent) showed the strongest growth and outperformed the total analog market (9 percent) by the widest margins.
TI’s analog sales represented 62 percent of its total corporate revenue in 2014. Since the 1990s, TI has focused on increasing its presence in the analog market. In 2009, TI purchased 300mm manufacturing tools from defunct Qimonda and put them to use to build analog ICs, becoming the first company to manufacture analog devices on 300mm equipment. In 2010, TI acquired two wafer fabs operated by Spansion in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Japan, and it acquired a fully equipped 200mm fab in China from Cension Semiconductor Manufacturing in Chengdu. Both facilities were immediately put to use making analog ICs. In April 2011, TI acquired National Semiconductor—its rival in many analog markets—for $6.5 billion.
TI is boosting its analog position by transferring more manufacturing to 300mm wafers in its newer RFAB and its older DMOS 6 fab. TI says the 300mm fabs will together help reduce its total production costs by up to 40 percent, increase its available manufacturing capacity substantially, and give it added flexibility to respond to customer demands.
TI’s 2014 analog revenue was nearly 3x larger than second place ST, whose sales grew 2 percent in 2014. ST accounted for 6 percent marketshare. ST attributed its lower analog sales to softer equipment sales (computer, consumer, automotive, industrial) among its primary customers. Third-ranked Infineon and seventh-ranked NXP were two other European-headquartered companies ranked among the top 10 analog suppliers in 2014. Collectively, these three European suppliers accounted for 16 percent analog marketshare last year.
Skyworks enjoyed a stellar year in which its analog sales increased 42 percent mostly due to strong worldwide smartphone sales. Skyworks Solutions makes analog and mixed signal semiconductors for Apple, Samsung, and other suppliers of mobile devices. Multiple power amplifier components from Skyworks are found in Apple’s iPhone 6 models. It has been estimated that Skyworks supplies $4 worth of content from every new iPhone 6 handset.
While Skyworks is heavily focused in mobile, CEO David Aldrich has said the company’s technology is “a conduit into the Internet of Things.” In 2015, the company said it would look to the automotive, home, and wearable markets to expand its presence in applications linked to the Internet of Things.
Analog ICs like audio amplifiers, op amps, are analog switches are key components and building blocks for creating innovative wearable applications. Skyworks’ wireless technology is used in some General Electric healthcare equipment, and the company recently sealed a deal to supply high-performance filter solutions to Panasonic devices.
Analog Devices purchased smaller rival Hittite Microwave in mid-2014, a company that specialized in devices for RF and signal-conversion applications. ADI’s analog sales grew 9% last year. ADI is expected to provide devices that enable the 3D/Force Touch feature—currently available on the Apple Watch—to the iPhone 6s that is due out in the second half of 2015 and new generations of the iPad. The Force Touch feature uses tiny electrodes to distinguish between a light tap and a deep press to trigger contextually specific controls.