June 9, 2011
Apple Is Largest Chip Buyer
A research firm said Wednesday that Apple Inc. has become the world's largest buyer of chips for computer and phones.
IHS iSuppli said Apple bought $17.5 billion worth of chips last year, surpassing computer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. This was an increase of 80 percent from the year before, which directly reflects Apple's continuing sales surge.
Apple said in January that it had spent $3.9 billion on long-term contracts to secure supplies for the next two years of a "very strategic" component it would not name.
High-tech manufacturers were scrambling to buy chips as sales started reviving last summer after the recession, and chip-makers had yet to ramp production back up. However, Apple reported no chip supply problems and blamed shortages of iPhones and iPads on limited assembly-line capacity.
Apple sold 48 million iPhones last year, up 89 percent from the previous year. ISuppli said that PC industry sales grew 14 percent.
The $17.5 billion figure means over a third of Apple's "cost of revenue" went toward chip purchases last year.
Samsung Electronics Co. and PC maker Dell Inc. were the number 3 and 4 chip buyers.
ISuppli expects Apple to extend its lead this year by buying chips for $22.4 billion, compared with $14.8 billion at HP.
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