Apple’s appetite for chips is shaking up the semiconductor industry. Research giant Gartner, Inc. says Apple is now spending more on chips than any other company, surpassing rivals Samsung and Hewlett Packard as the number one chip buyer for 2011. Gartner says Apple spent $17.3 billion on chips last year, up from $12.3 billion in 2010. Smartphones, tablets and solid state drives were the destinations for most of those semiconductors.
Samsung also increased its chip purchases in 2011, and the Korean company increased its chip sales as well, partly thanks to Apple. While Samsung competes with Apple in the smartphone market, it also supplies Apple with chips for the iPhone. Other companies that are benefitting from Apple’s robust demand for chips include ARM, Qualcomm, and Marvell.