Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego), which is expected to edge out Texas Instruments Inc. to take the third rank behind Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which have remained the top two sellers of chips for years.
Qualcomm's sales are projected to grow more than 27 percent in 2012—the highest growth rate of any top 20 chip maker—according to preliminary results from IHS iSuppli's Competitive Landscaping Tool.
As a result, Qualcomm, for years the world's largest fabless chip maker, has risen from No. 9 overall in chip sales to No. 3 in just two years.
"With its chips at the heart of countless cellphones, including Apple Inc.’s marquee iPhone 5, Qualcomm has discovered an oasis of growth in the desert that is the semiconductor market in 2012," said Dale Ford, senior director at IHS. "This six-rank ascent in two years represents the biggest increase of any major semiconductor supplier in recent history."