The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Applied Materials ( AMAT) acquisition of Varian Semiconductor ( VSEA)strengthens its dominance of the semiconductor equipment market.

According to a recent report published by The Information Network, Applied Materials was ranked number one in the semiconductor wafer front-end equipment industry and Varian Semiconductor was ranked number eight.

The acquisition of Varian Semiconductor will solidify Applied's lead. At the same time, it will enable Applied to re-enter the Ion Implantation business, a market it withdrew from in 2008.

As the chart below shows, most interesting for 2010 is the fact that the growth of the top 10 wafer front-end equipment manufacturers increased a full 20% -- greater than the combined total of all the other equipment suppliers.

While the top 10 equipment companies generated 42% of total wafer front-end equipment sales in 2009, their share grew to 45% in 2010.

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