It seems that for all of the attention semiconductor stocks have enjoyed so far this year -- Qualcomm (QCOM), ARM Holdings (ARMH), Nvidia (NVDA) -- Atmel can't seem to get any love. Is the disrespect deserved?
That it is not in the "halo" of tech giant Apple (AAPL) continues to hurt Atmel. It is considered "boring." But investors need to ask themselves when that ever mattered on balance sheets.
It seems many insist on confusing "flare" with "value." While Atmel does lack the flamboyance of Intel (INTC) and Qualcomm, it does present many other advantages not shared by its peers, many of which the market continues to unfairly discount.But as the underlying premise of investing remains finding value, investors must find opportunities that may not be immediately apparent. Often this includes sacrificing flare. Atmel is able to compensate for its lack of Apple exposure by competing in several other areas in the non-mobile devices market. Atmel is a leader in microcontrollers, programmable logic devices and a wide range of proprietary system-on-chips and non-volatile memory chips. The company is also gaining significant market share in other product categories, particularly in the gadget market with its line of maXTouch controllers. Many of these are key components in the touch-screen interfaces on several devices from Nokia (NOK) and devices that run on Google's (GOOG) Android platform. So while at present Atmel might be out of Apple's circle of friends, the company is still relevant to those with whom Apple competes. With Intel due to start its new marketing campaign upon the release of Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 operating system and Qualcomm continued dominance in Apple products, Atmel will find it a challenge to gain some momentum of its own. Again, the company does not need Apple to do it. It just needs to find more growth opportunities in the areas where it is already successful such as those I've mentioned.
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