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Back in September 2009, most analysts were anticipating a surge in 2010 semiconductor sales that would reflect the upcoming economic recovery. After all, semiconductors are used in virtually every device consumers deem essential these days - from smart phones and notebook computers to coffee makers and gaming consoles. Yet the industry had been mired in a three-year slump that saw global semiconductor sales plunge 9.6% in 2009 alone.
By April of this year, the numbers seemed to confirm those expectations. First-quarter worldwide sales had soared 58.3% to $69.2 billion from the prior year quarter's $43.7 billion, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the sector's leading U.S. trade group.