Showing posts for May 2015
29 May 2015
Avago and Broadcom
Avago Technologies have been looking to purchase another semiconductor company for sometime now. They attempted to purchase Freescale but lost out to NXP and have also been looking at Xilinx and Maxim. Now they have turned their attention to Broadcom.
The deal is rumoured to be finalised this week and is worth an estimated $37billion! Both companies shares have risen significantly after the agreement was first announced with Broadcom going up an impressive 20% and Avago rising 9%.
As Broadcom make chips which integrate wi-fi and bluetooth, they are used in a lot of smartphones and although Apple and Samsung use these connectivity chips, the company doesn't have any real dominance in any area. They recently lost a lot of business to Qualcomm and ended up having to lose 1/5 of their workforce.
Likewise, Avago aren't big enough to take on the likes of Samsung and Intel but if this acquisition goes through, the company will be in a much stronger position. We will keep you up to date with any further details as they emerge.
28 May 2015
3D Integrated Circuit Testing
Duke University in North Carolina are undertaking an interesting project looking into 3D Integrated Circuits and how they can be better tested and then improved upon. Until testing procedures are fully developed, the adoption of 3D ICs won't be able to reach their potential.
“Test challenges for 3D ICs must be addressed before high-volume production can be practical. Breakthroughs in test technology will allow higher levels of silicon integration, fewer defect escapes, and commercial exploitation.” said Krishnendu Chakrabarty, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke.
When manufacturing using stacked technology, it is important to stack known good dies. This is really important in order to achieve quality products and return a good manufacturing yield. But due to Through Silicon Vias (TSVs) and micro bumps being so small, they are difficult to test at the pre-bond stage. The Duke team have come up with a solution which probes multiple micro bumps at the same time – this shorts the TSVs which in turns forms a TSV network. Aggregated measurements from these TSV networks can be used to detect any defects in the TSVs themselves.
The research done by the team at Duke University has led to three US patents and has attracted the attention of several semiconductor and electronic design companies who are collaborating with Duke on this project. There is at least one company who are prepared to have measurement data on chips available later in the year. This research should lead to some major developments with 3D ICs which in turn will lead to better performance and better products.
26 May 2015
Top 20 Semiconductor Rankings
The rankings for the top 20 semiconductor sales for Q1 2015 have been released. Intel and Samsung continue to dominate, taking 1st and 2nd place respectively but there are very few surprises in the rankings. What is interesting however is that the top 4 all have completely different business models:
Intel – a pureplay IDM
Samsung – Vertically integrated IC supplier
TSMS – a pureplay Foundry
Qualcomm – A fabless company
Each have made a huge amount of money in the first quarter, especially TSMC with their sales from 1Q14 to 1Q15 increasing a huge 44%! Intel's sales have remained flat but they are still on top and ahead of Samsung by a fair amount.
The majority of the companies are US based with 7 of them hailing from North America. Of the rest 4 are in Japan, 3 in Taiwan, 3 in Europe, 2 in South Korea and 1 in Singapore. So there is a fairly broad mixture of locations showing that not one country is dominating completely.
With all the mergers and acquisitions in the pipeline such as NXP & Freescale and Microchip & Micrel, and no doubt there will be many other M&As occurring which we have no clue about yet, this ranking is likely to change considerably in the future.
20 May 2015
Intel and Altera
Intel are looking at a potential $17 billion plus buyout of Altera. Initial talks between the two companies ended in April when Altera rejected an offer of $54 per share – shares were at $35 in March before the potential deal was leaked.
It would appear that Intel want to diversify from just making chips for software purposes, such as personal computers and smartphones, and Altera's products would let them do this. Altera specialise in programmable chips for consumer electronics and servers.
Thinking of Intel's biggest customers, Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc. not only do they want the software that Intel currently provides, they also want the flexibility of changing their hardware as the software develops. The only way this can be done is using the programmable chips Altera make. It is easy to see why Intel want this technology under their remit. Owning their own chip technology and having access to programmable chips too would allow them to offer a complete package.
Intel have already announced they were beginning to make custom chips with programmable cores. If they are receiving a large demand from their clients for them, acquiring a company that already has the technology and expertise makes sense. This may be why Intel are reigniting the conversation with Altera. Neither company has commented on the potential deal or if communications are even back on however!
15 May 2015
Cyclops to the Rescue!
Working in the components industry, sometimes it can be easy to forget the huge impact our parts can have. We were reminded just of the importance of components last week when an urgent call came in from one of our customers...
You may remember seeing the London Rail Network grind to a halt a couple of weeks ago. Thousands of passengers were stuck and stranded for hours but with the sourcing skills of Cyclops Electronics, the problem was solved. An electrical problem between Wandsworth Common and Clapham Junction caused trains in and out of Victoria station to be suspended. Victoria is a huge transport hub in London so getting it fixed, and quickly, was a priority for our customer.
After receiving an immediate RFQ from his customer, one of our Account Managers, Jon, had an initial check and thought we were going to have to say we didn't have the stock they were looking for. Then Charlotte from our fabulous purchasing team managed to track the part down in Europe.
By this point it was 5.15pm UK time so it was touch and go whether our source in Europe would still be available. Luckily, and thanks to Charlotte's skills of persuasion, the parts were secured! However, now the problem was when they would arrive at our warehouse to be checked before sending them down to London. Thankfully, they arrived first thing in the morning and were able to be despatched immediately. After a nervous wait, our customer called later in the afternoon to say they had arrived, but were a different colour to what he was used to. After all our hard work was it all going to be in vain?
But the parts were correct! The two pieces were fitted and full power restored to the rail network. We were thrilled everything got sorted (so was our customer!) and it just goes to show how much of an impact our work can have. Our entire team, from Jon the Account Manager to Charlotte in Purchasing and all the people in our warehouse, worked together to find the parts required, and get them where they needed to be within the space of a few hours. This success story is testament to the hard work and dedication all our staff put in day in day out at Cyclops.
If you find yourself in a pickle like our rail network customer, you can call Cyclops Electronics on +44 (0)1904 415415 or email us here. We will do all we can to find the parts required and get them out to you as soon as possible. We love helping your business and being part of your happy ending!
06 May 2015
1st Quarter Results 2015
More great news for the semiconductor industry which is up 6% compared to the same period last year.
The Semiconductor Industry Association announced that sales reached $83.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015 with global sales for March 2015 reaching $27.7 billion.
All regions performed well this month, particularly the Americas who posted double digit, year to year growth for the sixth month straight! A huge14.2% growth compared to March last year.
Compared to the previous month each region (apart from the Americas grew):
- Europe up 2.7%
- Asia up 3.1%
- China up 1.0%
- Americas down 6.9%
Interestingly, this is the first time China has been put as a separate country in the sales data showing the country's increasing growth and significance in the industry.
“Despite macroeconomic challenges, first quarter global semiconductor sales are higher than they were last year, which was a record year for semiconductor revenue,” said John Neuffer, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association.
The overall figures are very good and indicate a positive 2015 for the semiconductor industry!
Enter Electronic Component part number below.