MediaFile

Tablets are shaking up the chip industry, even more

Tablets like Apple’s iPad are on their way to becoming a great equalizer of the semiconductor industry.

Sales of semiconductors used in tablets are ballooning and are set to nearly double to $18.4 billion by 2014 , according to a new report from IHS iSuppli.  Although still smaller than the  chip market for mobile phones and personal computers, that’s a massive market — and one that has not been dominated by one or two behemoth players. Last year, tablets were only the No. 8 destination for microchips.

Intel has long ruled over the PC industry and Qualcomm has enjoyed a similar position in cellphones, but the fast-growing tablet market is almost completely up for grabs, and each device needs a broad range of chips. Application processors attract the lion’s share of attention form from Wall Street investors but the iPad and other tablets are also packed with radio frequency chips, DRAM memory, NAND storage, sensors and analog semiconductors made by everyone from Avago to Samsung.

“Media tablets and handsets are a key driving force in reducing some of the consolidation in the semiconductor industry that has developed in more mature markets like PCs,” Dale Ford, head of IHS’ electronics & chip research said in a report.

Diversity is one of the reasons tablet and smartphone manufacturers have been quick to embrace  the business model that has grown up around ARM Holdings, whose technology is licensed by a wide range of chipmakers, each adding their own distinct twist to individualize their offerings.

Schmidt quits Apple board, no surprise there

Few observers expressed much surprise over Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s decision Monday to step down from Apple’s board. Analysts said the writing was on the wall, as Google’s Android smartphone software competes in the same market at Apple’s iPhone, and Google’s forthcoming Chrome operating system prepares to enter a market against Apple’s Mac OS.

Schmidt said earlier this month he expected to chat with Apple about his role on its board, and what with increased regulatory scrutiny about the company’s ties, many say it was only a matter of time.

“It’s the collision course that they’ve been on for a while, I think they’ve managed it well up to until now,” said Todd Dagres, a venture capitalist whose firm Spark Capital funded Twitter. “I think Eric getting off the board may be an indication of sort of the last straw here.”

Oracle is SAP’s own Lord Voldemort

It’s been a while since German business software maker SAP has stated exactly how much of a market share it has.  And no matter how much journalists prod and badger SAP CEO Leo Apotheker he will not divulge that figure. Even when analysts say they believe that SAP’s main rival Oracle has been taking market share from the German company, Apotheker will not be moved to shed some light on the issue.  In several TV interviews on Wednesday, the day SAP presented its second-quarter results, and in a call with analysts, Apotheker not only declined to provide even a range, in fact he could not bring himself to call his company’s fiercest rival by name. “We have about twice as much market share as Number 2,” he said.  In the Harry Potter series the hero is the only one who calls his nemesis by name – Lord Voldemort - instead of ”he who must not be named”.  C’mon Leo, if Harry Potter can do it, so can you.