The shift in the electronics industry from PCs to communications and Internet-related appliances has set the stage for Texas Instruments to overtake chip giant Intel in the semiconductor industry, claimed TI executives at the company's annual analyst briefing in Dallas last week.
"I wouldn't trade TI's position for anyone else's in the industry," Tom Engibous, TI's chief executive said. "TI is in the best position of any semiconductor company in the world for this era. The PC is not going away, but we believe DSPs (digital signal processors) and analog are the two most important semiconductor technologies of the next decade."
TI's two principal businesses, analog and DSP, have a respective ranking of second and eighth in the industry on the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) list of total available market leaders. Engibous believes these two product segments could rank first and second by 2010, with DSP overtaking the current leader, microprocessors, in total revenue.
Analysts agree DSP could become the key technology of the decade, particularly if all the products that incorporate DSP functionality are factored into the WSTS's calculations.
"There will be no microprocessor shipping in 2010 without DSP capabilities," said Will Strauss, analyst at multi-client market research specialist Forward Concepts.
"If you look at the processing budget of whatever is shipping then, the bulk of the Mips (millions of instructions per second) will be devoted to DSP functions. It becomes a question of definition. Is it a DSP? Is it a microprocessor?" he said.
"What is know is DSP has become the technology driver for the whole semiconductor industry."
TI last year expanded its dominant position in general-purpose programmable DSPs, where the company controls nearly half of the $4.4bn (#2.8bn) market, according to Forward Concepts.
But general-purpose DSPs represent only a portion of the total DSP market, which also includes non-programmable and application-specific devices, microcontrollers and processors that include DSP functions and emerging system-on-a-chip implementations. TI also must ultimately control these sectors to become the "new Intel", analysts said.
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