The analogue industry is at an inflection point, says Tunc Doluca, CEO of Maxim Integrated. It is consolidating, it is increasingly focussed on mobility and it is heading towards higher levels of integration.
“Originally the analogue industry was dominated by building blocks,” says Doluca, “now we can help a customer build a system. The old single-function building block industry is going. Companies which can build highly integrated solutions can benefit.”
Twenty years ago the analogue IC industry had 10,000 parts, says Doluca, ten years ago it had 20,000 parts, now it has 40,000 parts. “will that number keep growing?” asks Doluca, “we think not.”
According to a Maxim-funded survey last year, the priorities customers now look for from analogue companies are first reference designs, second, technical support, third an understanding of the customer’s system, fourth facilitation of a quick time to market and fifth, ease of identifying components.
A third of the analogue market is the mobility market, says Doluca.
Asked if this wasn’t a recipe for engaging in a constantly commoditising market, Doluca replies: “If you look at the mobile market, the building blocks get commoditised. In these markets it’s easy for people to make similar products. When we make building block products we make sure they’re highly differentiated and as soon as possible we integrate them into bigger chips. Very few companies can do that.”
Maxim’s strength in the integrated analogue market derives, says Doluca, from having one of the broadest IP portfolios having been on the business for three decades and owning proven IP blocks which speeds product development.
Doluca estimates the mobile analogue market at $10bn today, $11bn in 2013 and $19bn in 2015.
The analogue IC industry is consolidating, says Doluca. 20 years ago none of the top five companies had more than 6% market share. Last year, the top five companies had over 50% market share.
“Our strategy of higher integration products has worked for us,” says Doluca, “we have grown our high integration revenues two and a half times.”
Asked if the high integration strategy had resulted in higher ASP, Doluca, replies: “We don’t look at ASP as an important metric