Apple Eclipses HP as Biggest Chip Buyer Buoyed by IPad Sales

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is on track to extend its lead as the biggest electronic chip buyer after overtaking Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) last year on surging demand for its iPhone and iPad tablet and waning personal computer sales growth.

Apple has bought $17.5 billion worth of chips for its devices in 2010, compared with $9.7 billion the previous year, El Segundo, California-based IHS ISuppli said in a report today. Apple’s semiconductor spending is expected to exceed Hewlett- Packard’s outlay by $7.5 billion this year, up from $2.4 billion in 2010.

Cupertino, California-based Apple said this week it has sold more than 25 million iPads since the device went on sale in April, 2010 demonstrating the demand for a device that can offer many of the features of a laptop in a smaller and lighter format. Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, California, on May 17 said consumer PC sales dropped 23 percent last quarter, and cut its annual sales forecast by $1 billion.

Hewlett-Packard fell 21 cents to $35.36 at 4 p.m. on the New York Stock Exchange, and Apple rose 20 cents to $332.24 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

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