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Intel CEO Raises Some Eyebrows

Chip executives were mixed over the latest forecast presented by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

At a press event on Wednesday (Nov. 3), for example, Intel Chief Executive Craig Barrett startled the audience by saying that he takes the SIA's IC forecast with a "grain of salt" despite receiving an award from the trade group.

Other executives upheld the SIA forecast, saying that the IC market is headed towards flat growth in 2005 after two years of a sustained upturn. Still another executive blasted the media and analyst community for hyping the current slowdown and inventory correction issues in the marketplace.

On Wednesday, the SIA released its revised forecast for 2004 to 2007, predicting sales to rise 28.5 percent to a record $213.8 billion in 2004, but the market will remain essentially flat in 2005, as the excess inventory problems many chip companies are now reporting make their impact felt.

The forecast projects sales will grow by 6.3 percent to $227.2 billion in 2006 and by 14.2 percent to $259.4 billion in 2007. According to the SIA, projections of a less favorable supply-and-demand balance for memory products will be the major factor in dampening industry expansion next year.

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