Acquisitions by NXP, Microchip and Cypress had a big impact on the ranking of microcontroller suppliers in 2016. One of the biggest shifts was NXP overtaking Renesas to become the top microcontroller (MCU) supplier thanks to its acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor, according to IC Insights’ April Update to The McClean Report.
Several major acquisitions - attributed to strong growth for the internet of things (IoT) applications and market share gains - resulted in significant changes to the top eight MCU suppliers by revenue in 2016. The IC Insights ranking shows that NXP, Microchip and Cypress Semiconductor all moved up in sales rankings last year thanks to increased revenues, driven by acquisitions of IC companies that sold microcontrollers.
Suppliers that didn’t make significant MCU acquisitions “posted low-single-digit percentage increases or declines in MCU sales in 2016,” said IC Insights.
Here are key report findings. In 2016, NXP moved up from sixth position to the number one ranking, overtaking Renesas Electronics as the largest MCU supplier. NXP’s revenues increased 116 percent following its acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor in December 2015. NXP is ranked at number nine in the overall semiconductor market.
Renesas, which dropped to the number two slot, experienced a few setbacks over the past few years. According to IC Insights, Renesas’ sales fell four percent to about $2.5 billion or about 16 percent of the total microcontroller market in 2016, following a MCU sales decline of 19 percent in 2015. Renesas’ MCU market share was 33 percent of global MCU sales in 2011.
Microchip moved up the ranking from third to fifth position following its acquisition of Atmel in 2016. The acquisition increased Microchip’s sales by 50 percent, reaching $2 billion. Atmel was ranked number nine in MCU sales in 2015. Microchip plans to expand its MIPS-based PIC32 MCU product line and Atmel’s ARM-based SAM series. Prior to the acquisition, Microchip was the only major MCU player not licensing ARM CPU technology, according to IC Insights.
Cypress Semiconductor’s sales increased by 15 percent in 2016, reaching about $622 million, moving the company into eighth position in the MCU ranking. Cypress raised its stature in MCUs after acquiring Spansion in March 2015. “Cypress’ increase in microcontroller sales was partly a result of having a full year of revenue from Spansion’s MCU business but also growth in the company’s programmable system-on-chip (PSoC) products, which combine microcontroller functionality with user-configurable peripherals of mixed-signal and digital functions that are targeted at end-use applications,” said IC Insights.
Samsung recorded the biggest decline among MCU leaders with sales dropping by 14 percent in 2016. IC Insights attributes the loss primarily to weakness in the smartcard MCU market.
The report also finds that major MCU suppliers have improved their product portfolios to address strong growth markets such as the IoT, automotive, robotics, embedded applications and other emerging systems.
Freescale’s MCU portfolio, for example, targets embedded control applications, including automotive systems. Both NXP and Freescale have developed 32-bit MCUs with Cortex-M CPU design cores licensed from ARM. One of the newest ARM-based MCUs from NXP is the Kinetis K27/K28 family of Cortex-M4-based MCUs for portable display applications. The MCUs support a broad set of peripherals to process sensors in connected IoT devices, said the company.