HP was the biggest chip buyer in 2007: Gartner

HP bought the most chips last year, but Nintendo outgrew most with strong chip purchases due to the Wii

Hewlett-Packard bought US$15 billion worth of semiconductors in 2007, more than any other company in the world, market researcher Gartner said Monday.

The top 10 chip purchasers combined for US$91 billion last year, just a 1 percent rise over 2006, Gartner said in its Semiconductor DQ Monday Report.

Most of the world's semiconductors went into data processing gear last year, 38 percent, while communications took 35 percent of all chips and consumer goods claimed 20 percent. Chips made for industrial use accounted for 5 percent of global chip revenue, while automotive chips were just 2 percent.

Nintendo jumped in the rankings of global chip purchasers last year as its chip consumption more than doubled due to strong sales of the Wii game console and DS handheld, Gartner said. The company bought US$3.6 billion worth of chips last year, over 100 percent growth compared to a year earlier.

Gartner credited Nintendo's focus on the user experience, its expertise in software, integration of sensors, and relationship with game developers for its success last year.

"Companies such as Nintendo are trendsetters, and their design choices affect other manufacturers," said Gartner analysts Alfonso Velosa and Jon Erensen in the report. "We expect many electronics firms to experiment with touch screens, non-optical and optical sensors, and multiple wireless technologies -- but many of these offerings will fail, due to poor software and user interface integration. However, these activities should result in growth opportunities for semiconductor firms that provide relevant components."

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