Intel hung on to its position as number-one semiconductor vendor by revenue in 2006, despite a 12 per cent revenue decline over the previous year, according to a report from Gartner.

The chip giant lost share with its CPUs (central processing units) in the server and consumer segments to Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in all but the fourth quarter of 2006, Gartner found. An industry-wide price war also cut into Intel revenue.

Still, Intel had a boost in the fourth quarter, with the release of its Core 2 Duo and Xeon 5100 products. Those products should help Intel win back its lost market share this year, Gartner said. Overall, Intel had 11.6 per cent market share for 2006.

Samsung Electronics came in at number two, with 7.7 per cent market share and 9.8 per cent revenue growth over 2005. Increased sales in DRAM (dynamic RAM), NOR Flash, PSRAM (pseudo static RAM) and CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) Image Sensors contributed to Samsung's growth, Gartner said. However, Samsung lost market share, slipping below 50 per cent, in the NAND Flash revenue segment.

Texas Instruments (TI) hung on to the number-three position, with 4.6 per cent of the market and an 18.4 per cent revenue increase over 2005. High performance analog drove growth for TI, with a 33 per cent increase over 2005, Gartner said. In addition, revenue for 3G (third-generation) wireless products for TI grew 50 per cent.

Hynix Semiconductor and Infineon Technologies recorded the strongest growth rates among the top ten. Hynix revenue grew almost 40 per cent compared to 2005 and Infineon recorded 28.4 per cent growth in revenue.

Intel rival AMD gained market share in the mobile and desktop segments as well as server product families in Dell. Combined semiconductor revenue from AMD and ATI Technologies, the company AMD bought, grew by almost 30 per cent in 2006 compared to 2005.

Overall, the worldwide semiconductor market generated $262.7 billion in revenue in 2006, a 10.2 per cent increase from 2005 revenue of $238.3 billion, Gartner found.