Intel has been the dominant company in chip manufacturing for literally decades, but in 2017 it ceded its crown to Samsung, as evidenced by the two companies’ annual financial reports. First noted by Bloomberg, the change of leadership was signalled by Intel’s $62.8 billion in annual revenue being surpassed by the $69.1 billion generated by Samsung’s semiconductor division. It’s not a straightforward comparison to make, since Intel’s focus is on x86 processors, where it remains the leader by a great distance, and Samsung’s strength is in producing memory and flash storage — but in monetary terms, the latter business is now bigger.

Beyond the financials, Samsung’s memory business also looks to be far more important and fundamental to the…

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