Update: 10 years of graphics hardware: They came, acquired and left

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Update: 10 years of graphics hardware: They came, acquired and left

Can you recall all companies that developed and built computer graphics
hardware in the past years? Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie
Research (JPR), compared for TG Daily the evolution of market shares of
the three dozen manufacturers that have been involved in this industry
in one way or the other.

As I ponder the last ten years in preparation for our Q1’08 quarterly report on the graphics chip market, I can’t help but think about all the companies that have been in this business. I am probably not the only one who is wondering what happened to them.

Sure, most of the engineers and a few of the marketing people ended up in the surviving companies, as did a couple of the managers. But generally, the founders went on to start something else. Even those who got scooped up in an acquisition left as soon as their contract was up. That’s the nature of an entrepreneur.


(c) Jon Peddie Research

In 1996, there were 70 companies who either claimed or were actually shipping 3D graphics hardware. By Q4 1987, there were only 24 companies left shipping 3D graphics controllers (back then, these chips weren’t called GPUs).

Today, there are only six companies that are offering GPUs to the industry and there is talk about how long a couple of them will last. It seems that, by the end of this year, we could be down to four suppliers of GPUs, which includes integrated GPUs or IGPs.

Read on the next page: How the market shares of three dozen graphics suppliers shifted over the past 10 years

So, who were these companies that crowed the market with their independent designs, proprietary APIs, unspecified bus designs, and often unmanageable video outputs? Here is the list of the most significant players. The chart below shows their market shares over time. 

– 3Dfx Interactive
– 3Dlabs
– Acer
– Alliance
– Appian
– ARK Logic
– Chips & Technologies
– Chromatic
– Cirrus Logic
– Dynamic Pictures
– E&S
– HP
– Intel
– Intergraph
– LG Semicon
– Macronix
– Matrox
– Mitsubishi (VSIS)
– Number Nine
– Nvidia
– Oak Technology
– Real 3D
– Rendition
– S3
– SGS-Thomson
– Sigma Designs
– SiS
– Texas Instruments
– Trident
– Tseng Labs
– Via

(c) Jon Peddie Research (Click here for an enlarged version of the chart)

Anyone who has been following this market will quickly see several companies in the list that have been acquired by the survivors. Others, like TI, ixMicro, SGS just gave up and shut down their graphics chip operations.

As the market consolidated so did market shares to the point where today there are three main suppliers, two smaller ones, and one tiny one.

Feel free to share your thoughts below.