Semi market stutters all the way through this year

While there is some evidence that things are better in the semiconductor market last quarter than they were before, it’s unlikely that things will really take off until this time next year.

That’s the view, anyway of Malcolm Penn, the CEO of boutique market research firm Future Horizons.  He thinks that the limited growth we saw in the last quarter is largely down to readjustment of inventory but there are brighter times in store.

Penn said in an interview yesterday that the world of electronics doesn’t stand still. Companies that make products and that use the chips the semiconductor industry makes have to refresh their product ranges and inevitably that means that order books will fill.

But, he thinks, although the semiconductor market will start to show again the kind of seasonal patterns it’s famous for, it’s unlikely that things will really begin to buzz until this time of year.

Penn has an interesting view about the semi industry which he thinks is lacking the kind of leadership it did in the past. He thinks that now it’s largely run by accountants who lack any kind of vision or enterprise.

He said that at the last semiconductor seminar he held for his clients in London, he tried an interesting  experiment and asked those present to name the CEOs of the top 20 semiconductor companies.  Everyone went blank. The reason for that, he thinks, is that there aren’t that many visionaries left in the industry. He asked me that question too, and to my shame I could only come up with a handful of the 20. Here are iSuppli’s figures for the top 20 semiconductor companies in 2008, excluding foundry players like TSMC.

Rank Company CEO
1 Intel Corporation Paul Otellini
2 Samsung Electronics Kim-Hee Lee
3 Toshiba Semiconductors Shozo Saito
4 Texas Instruments Richard Templeton
5 ST Microelectronics Carlo Bozotti
6 Renesas Technology Katsuhiro Tsukamoto
7 Sony Howard Stringer
8 Qualcomm Paul Jacobs
9 Hynix Kim Jong-cap
10 Infineon Technologies Peter Bauer
11 NEC Semiconductors Kaoro Yano
12 Advanced Micro Devices Dirk Meyer
13 Freescale Semiconductor Rich Beyer
14 Broadcom Scott McGregor
15 Panasonic Corporation Fumio Ohtsubo
16 Micron Technology Steve Appleton
17 NXP Rick Clemmer
18 Sharp Electronics Daisuke Koshina
19 Elpida Yukio Sakamoto
20 Rohm Ken Sato

Future Semiconductors next International Electronics Forum will be held in Geneva starting on the 30th of September.