Apple and Samsung are biggest chip buyers

Dale Ford, head of IHS iSuppli's electronics and semiconductor research business, revealed Tuesday that Apple is the biggest buyer of microprocessors, almost 50% ahead of Samsung, it's closest rival. Ford announced this information at the analyst firm's Technology, Media and Telecommunications Summit, reports CNET.

Apple is projected to spend $27 billion on semiconductors this year, and $29 billion by 2013. This is in stark contrast to 2009, when Apple spent $9 billion. The huge growth can be largely attributed to the popularity of its iPhone and iPad products.

Samsung, which spent about $10 billion in 2009, should reach $18 billion in spending in 2013. Samsung is the second-largest purchaser of semiconductors, with a big lead on its other rivals though it trails Apple by a huge amount. Samsung is also the second-largest producer of semiconductors, behind Intel.

The overall semiconductor market saw sales totaling $311 billion in 2011, and the number is expected to cross $400 billion eventually.

The semiconductor industry faced some trials last year with the earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand. However, the situation was not nearly as bad as it could have been, because the disasters occurred during seasonal lulls when extra inventory was still moving. "If either of those disasters had taken place in August, we would have experienced much greater pain," Ford said.

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