Commentary: Semiconductors: Fewer Thrills And Chills?

Since its inception four decades ago, the semiconductor industry has never been able to defy business cycles that swing wildly between boom and bust. Even though chip sales have climbed at a steady 17% compound rate since 1959, manufacturing capacity has grown in fits and starts, always lagging behind or horribly exceeding demand. The current doozy of a boom, which dates back to late 1998, is no exception. With demand still skyrocketing, analysts are projecting a 77% industrywide profit surge this year, according to Thompson/First Call.

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