The chips are down; silicon makers cut forecasts

Demonstrating that the dark cloud hanging over the economy is forcing consumers to tighten their money belts, chipmakers Texas Instruments, Broadcom and National Semiconductor are predicting that there will be less future need for their products--widely used in cell phones--and are accordingly cutting their forecasts for 2009.

The lowered results and forecasts come during a period when the tech industry usually flourishes, demonstrating that all the naysaying has finally caused consumers to tighten their money belts or at least lose confidence in any economic recovery. TI said that sales in its current quarter would be down as much as 35 percent over a year ago; National Semi said revenue could drop 30 percent and Broadcom chipped in with a 27 percent drop in quarterly net income.

The most recent round of bad news among chipmakers followed similar cuts from industry giant Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), all based on the thought that consumer enthusiasm for new cell phones will be off.

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