“Europe is shifting – changing towards analogue mixed signal rather than digital designs,” said Marced, “it’s driven by the customers, the OEMs.”
“The semiconductor vendors got misled. We missed the bus on application processors like we missed the bus on CPUs,” added Marced, “we should focus on RF, embedded flash, power semiconductors and analogue mixed signal in general. That is what the OEMs are driving.”
Marced pointed out that, in 2008, analogue mixed signal RF was about 60% of the total European market, adding that, in 2012, it will represent 80% of the European market.
Marced pointed out that banks and governments want to get closer to people and the vehicle for doing that is the smartcard. “Anything smartcard related gives Europe a huge opportunity,” said Marced.
TSMC has a programme called the VCA (Value Chain Aggregator) programme to help start-ups, design houses and system companies making their own ASICs, said Marced.
VCA programme members get access to design enablement building blocks within TSMC’s Open Innovation Platform, access to IP development services, to design back-end, wafer manufacturing, assembly and test. “We can help start-up companies ramp up very quickly,” said Marced.
Marced pointed out that the composition of the members of the VCA programme is changing. In 2009 the programme had 100 active members – all fabless companies. In 2011 it has 126 members but the new members are made up of design houses and system houses setting up operations to make their own ASICs.
The European semiconductor industry is already undergoing a transition – while the European fabless industry is growing at 20% a year, European IDMs are not growing at all, pointed out Marced.