Fabless chip companies are a growing trend

According to a new set of figures out of IC Insights, fabless IC companies will command at least 33 percent of the total IC market by 2017. 

In the long run fables IC suppliers and the foundries that serve them will continue to become an ever stronger force in the total IC industry. Fears of an almighty Intel with huge 450mm fabs seem unfounded, at least if IC Insights crunched its numbers right.

Fabless IC sales growth always tended to outpace IDM IC sales growth. The trend reversed only once, back in 2010, as fabless IC suppliers failed to cash in on the DRAM and NAND boom.

However, fabless IC suppliers saw their growth rates rebound in 2011, with a 5 percent increase compared to a 1 percent decline for the IDM gang. The positive trend continued in 2012, as fabless IC supplier grew by six percent, outperforming IDMs by 14 points.

In 2012 fabless companies accounted for 27.8 percent of worldwide IC sales, up from 13 percent in 2002.