Semi­con­duc­tor sales have bot­tomed out

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - SI­MON DIN­GLE si­mond@fin­

TECH­NOL­OGY RE­SEARCH and con­sult­ing firm Gart­ner says semi­con­duc­tor sales have bot­tomed out in sec­ond quar­ter 2009 and that while fur­ther de­clines in cap­i­tal spending are ex­pected for the rest of the year, a re­turn to growth is pre­dicted next year.

David Kan, CEO and founder of listed South African tech­nol­ogy ven­dor Mustek, says lo­cal sales for his com­pany are some­what bet­ter than what’s been seen in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. “Desk­top com­puter sales have been down, while lap­top sales have been up. We’ve seen around 15% growth in lap­top sales. I ex­pect unit sales on desk­tops to re­main flat but the note­book and net­book sec­tor will con­tinue to show healthy growth.”

Kan says that mar­ket re­cov­ery will be bol­stered with the release of Win­dows 7. “We’re ex­pect­ing to of­fer Win­dows 7 from Au­gust this year on­wards. Af­ter the neg­a­tiv­ity sur­round­ing Vista, we ex­pect Win­dows 7 to do well and en­cour­age clients to up­grade their com­put­ers.” Kan also says that ini­tia­tives such as that of SA’s Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, which is ac­quir­ing 360 000 lap­tops, will fur­ther im­prove mar­ket con­di­tions.

Klaus Rin­nen, manag­ing vice-pres­i­dent at Gart­ner, says: “The im­pact of the eco­nomic cri­sis has hit the semi­con­duc­tor equip­ment in­dus­try hard – but signs of life are re­turn­ing. Un­doubt­edly, it will be a long, slow road to com­plete re­cov­ery but we’re see­ing the first in­di­ca­tions of in­creased foundry ac­tiv­ity to re­plen­ish in­ven­to­ries de­pleted by the cut­backs of the past few quar­ters.”

Rin­nen says, over­all, the in­dus­try has re­sponded as it should’ve when faced with one of the worst down­turns in its his­tory: by elim­i­nat­ing all un­nec­es­sary spending, cut­ting buy­ing to in­ven­to­ries and not do­ing any­thing dra­matic. It ap­pears the in­dus­try has learned a painful les­son and can im­ple­ment im­prove­ments on its abil­ity to man­age cap­i­tal in­vest­ments and ca­pac­ity and thus bring a re­turn to prof­itabil­ity to all seg­ments.”

Por­ta­ble is grow­ing. David Kan, CEO of Mustek

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