Q3: Good Or Bad?

Here we are half way through Q3 and the company guidance could mean a decent quarter or a lousy one.

Seeking Alpha points out that Intel is guiding 2-10% growth; Qualcomm -4 to +5%;  TI -4 to +4%; ST -5 to +5.5%;  Broadcom 1  to  9%; Altera 2 to 6%.

There are some notable exceptions who see a stellar Q3: Cirrus Logic is guiding 72 to 92% growth for the quarter which might say something about Apple’s plans for a 7 inch tablet and/or iPhone 5. Apple is Cirrus’ largest customer.

Then there’s SanDisk guiding 11 to 21% suggesting that SSDs could be in big demand. “Our SSD SKUs continue to grow nicely,” it was said at the earnings call, “and we are moving the company higher up the value chain with our SSD software solutions.”

Skyworks is guiding 7 to 8% growth after rising 6.6% in Q2 on Q1, MediaTek is guiding 13-18% growth and Triquint is another one predicting a great quarter guiding 10 to 15% growth.

There are some big spreads: ST at -5 to +5.5%; Freescale at -7 to  +2%; PMC-Sierra at -6 to 0%; Maxim at 0 to  +5% – all suggesting that the difficulties of knowing what you’re doing in the semiconductor industry have not got any easier.



  1. I suppose it’s just become the convention that CEOs make a forecast and, if they don’t, they’ll undoubtedly be asked for one at the results call, George, so they’re better off making a nonsense forecast from the start and hope to avoid questions about it.

  2. georgegrimes-ti-com.myopenid.com

    Well, the executives could be honest and say, “The signals that we use to predict our market are mixed rather than consistent so we’re not sure which ones to believe.” The problem is that the market place would crucify anyone foolish enough to be that forthcoming.

  3. So it seems [Anonymous] it’s become so ridiculous it’s not worth doing.

  4. Guidance is a game, up there with the manipulation of Libor.

  5. It’s a mystery, martijn, Cirrus and Sharp suggest big new products from Apple are imminent; the flash boys suggest they’re not. I’m baffled.

  6. Depends when you decide to stop growing Terry, this year? Last year? Or should we have stopped in the Middle Ages?

  7. What should we expect in terms of performance from the industry? After all, it’s clear that continued exponential growth of anything is impossible in a finite world. Thus, at some point economic growth and semiconductor industry growth must slow down and stop. There are some signs that this latest economic crisis is deeper and wider than any previous one and it may well be the first shocks of the end of the glohal growth phase.
    Yet still everyone from government economists to industry analysts keeps banging on about when we can return to growth. How do they think this is possible? Even if we do manage to squeeze another bubble out of the poor old exhausted global economy, there’s no way this can carry on forever.
    I guess everyone knows it but nobody dares to say it, especially those whose job it is to be upbeat.
    But economic stability is nothing to fear surely? Shouldn’t 0% growth be a more sensible target?

  8. Not only TSB, yesterday digitimes reported that also SEC and Hynix are cutting NAND output by 10% “according to industry sources”

  9. Good point Martijn. When Toshiba cut output by 30% last month, analysts were asking why do that when the iPhone 5 and Apple’s 7 inch tablet are expected in Q4? And SanDisk gets the NAND for its SSDs from Toshiba-run fabs. It’s a puzzle.

  10. odd that the SSD guys expect big sales, while the NAND guys (TSB, SEC, Hynix) all decide to scale back NAND production 10-30% due to lack of demand.
    Is SSD such a small portion of the end usage of NAND chips?
    If Apple is making a new product (based on Cirrus guidance) that is going to eat some NAND as well.
    Any idea?

  11. Personally I blame the financial guys, Mike, they’ve perverted a generation of CEOs to place too much importance on financial metrics. A bit like Arnie Weinstock – and look what he did for the UK microelectronics industry!

  12. Don’t limit it just to European CEOs David. Many Americans have been just as bad … and as for the Japanese !

  13. It will need a new generation of managers, mgp-1, the generation which succeeded Pistorio, Knorr/Schumacher and Dunn/McGregor have made a terrible hash of things.

  14. ‘Guidance’ of “-5% to +5%” is complete and utter nonsense (Freescale, Qualcomm, ST and TI). “+1% to +9%” (Altera, Broadcon and Intel) not much better … but at least it’s in the same direction! What a terrible mess the industry has got itself into, after all this is Q3 we are talking about, traditionally the industry’s strongest quarter. Whichever way you cut it, the chip industry model is now well and truly broken … from fab-lite to forecasts. Who I wonder will show the vision and leadership to fix it?

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