Helluva Year For Programmables


The programmable logic market first hit $3 billion in 2000, and it didn’t make $4 billion until 2010, according to Ed Lepkowski of L-Mar Associates.

Throughout the $3 billion niche decade it looked as if the glory growth years of the programmable industry had been replaced by a mature, stagnant market.


Last year, it leapt $1.4 billion from $3.38 billion to $4.78 billion.


Altera had a banner year, increasing its share from 35.3% to 40.7% – the first time it has held a 40%+ share in a decade.

Xilinx, in the throes of transitioning its product line to a unified architecture, slipped below 50% market share for the first time since 2002.

Xilinx lost 4.5 points of market share last year dropping from 2009’s 52.8% to 2010’s 48.3%.

The surge in sales of programmables seems due more to general market exuberance and, maybe, a growing disinclination to go to the expense of ASIC, than anything the programmable companies have actually done.

Unless I’ve missed some major innovation.



  1. You’re absolutely spot on, CustomGuy, though the shame of it is that despite this major innovation, Actel’s market share slipped a point to 5% last year.

  2. Some confusion here – Smartfusion is from Actel, who have themselves recently been taken over. Apparently it is a good product though…

  3. Greg,
    You make a vaid point. Often it is very hard to break out a small sales number from a much larger one unless it is clearly broken out by the mfg.(Atmel)in this case.

  4. I did miss it Greg. Atmel isn’t on the programmable suppliers’ list of L-Mar Associates which I was quoting. Should it be?

  5. Atmel’s integration of mixed signal and an ARM processor on their Smartfusion FPGA is one major innovation from 2010. Perhaps you missed that.

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