Competitive Threats: The One Non-U.S. Tech Company on Top 10 List

The Samsung Electronics booth at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Xinhua News Agency/eyevine via Redux Close

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The Samsung Electronics booth at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Xinhua News Agency/eyevine via Redux

Silicon Valley can be an insular place, but at least one outsider has grabbed the region's attention because of the threat it poses.

To better understand the competitive landscape, Bloomberg Rankings looked through the annual reports filed by the 50 largest U.S. tech companies by market value, and tallied the number of times a company was listed in the standard risk factors or competitors sections. The result is a ranking of tech companies that are seen as the biggest threats.

Not surprisingly, the list was comprised primarily of Americans. The big outlier was Samsung Electronics, the only non-U.S. company to break into the top 10. Nvidia and Western Digital, both based in California, were among the 11 companies that mentioned Samsung in their reports.

The South Korean electronics giant is outspending its peers in marketing as well as investments, and eating into many markets. Samsung shipped more smartphones than anyone else in the third quarter, capturing 31 percent of the market, according to research firm IDC. This company is hard to ignore. Samsung declined to comment.

There were a couple of surprises just outside the top 10. Toshiba was tied with Accenture at No. 12, with seven mentions by the 50 most valuable U.S. tech companies. More than 40 percent of the Japanese company's sales last year came from its Social Infrastructure unit, which includes power systems and medical equipment. Digital products, which include its troubled TV business, made up almost a quarter of Toshiba's revenue.

STMicroelectronics was up there at No. 14, tied with Facebook and Yahoo! at six mentions each. That goes to show that STMicro is still relevant despite its troubles, including a third-quarter loss of $142 million and weakening demand from Asia.

For those who don't know, STMicro is Europe's biggest semiconductor maker. Europe may not be known for its silicon, but the Franco-Italian company can still strike fear in U.S. rivals.

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