Business Strategy and Outlook| Abhinav Davuluri, CFA |
Applied Materials is the top vendor of semiconductor fabrication tools. While competitors tend to specialize in a single core competency, Applied competes in almost every key equipment segment with the exception of photolithography. As a result, all major chipmakers develop strong relationships with Applied that span multiple process steps of their chip production. The firm is the dominant player in the material deposition and removal areas, among others. Applied boasts an impressive global presence with an installed base of more than 43,000 tools and field service engineers stationed in nearly every leading-edge chip-manufacturing facility in the world. With semiconductor fabrication becoming increasingly complex, resulting in more process steps and new manufacturing technologies, collaboration between chipmakers and equipment providers is set to reach unprecedented levels. We expect Applied to leverage existing relationships and insights into future customer technology needs to take advantage of the proliferating demand for state-of-the-art chips.