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The Slow-Growth Market

Eight years ago, when Moshe Gavrielov became CEO of Xilinx, he saw it as the ‘dream job’. “I’ve been 30 years in the semiconductor industry,” he said at the time, “ I spent ten years designing microprocessors and SOCs, then ten years in ASIC, and then ten years in EDA, so I think of it as someone who’s been running ...

Effect Of Brexit On IC Industry – Not Much

Forbes carries a piece on the impact of Brexit on the semiconductor industry and its conclusion is: not much. Most semiconductor products and their manufacturing equipment is duty-free under WTO rules, says Forbes. The US supplies 50% of the market and China uses 50% of all semiconductor production. Europe makes less than 10% of worldwide production. Germany is the 3rd ...

The Cult

It always seemed that working for one of Silicon Valley’s new, global, multi-billion dollar algorithm companies would be good fun – bring your pet to work, free connoisseur meals, lots of sexy chicks, recreational facilities in the office etc. But apparently it’s not quite like that. A sacked Facebook advertising manager called Antonio Garcia Martinez has written a book called ...

Fable: The Memory Which Zero-ed

There was once a memory technology which used the floating body effect of SOI as a switch. It was a capacitor-less single transistor technology 2x the density of DRAM and 5x the density of SRAM. It was invented in Switzerland by a former Micron guy and a Russian. A company raised $22 million to develop the technology which was licensed ...

The Man Who Invented The iPhone

The Yanks love a good lawsuit and will start one at the drop of a hat on the flimsiest of evidence – but the guy who invented the iPhone 15 years before Steve Jobs, takes the biscuit. The guy didn’t actually get a patent for his design because he didn’t pay all the fees but he did file for a ...

Vodafone Goes Europhile

Odd that Vodafone should take Brexit as a trigger for suggesting it may relocate its HQ outside the UK. For years while good Euro-democrats like Neelie Kroes pushed for better deals for mobile network consumers – e.g. for cutting roaming and data charges – Vodafone has been the chief lobbyist behind whichever wretched UK politician had to go to Brussels ...

Ed Warns Vlad

Ed Snowden really is a bit of a boy – after pissing off the US government by revealing the extent of its surveillance he now risks pissing off the Russkies by criticising a new Bill. The Bill, passed by the Duma but not yet signed by Vlad, provides that: Telecoms companies must keep copies of customers’ phone calls and text ...

NTT uses reflected lasers for encryption

According to the Nikkei, NTT is using reflected laser light for encryption. Random number sequences used in cryptographic systems are usually generated from mathematical formulae but by understanding the algorithms behind the formulae hackers can crack the encryption. Using irregular physical phenomena to generate random numbers can achieve a higher level of unpredictability. NTT has developed a system that can ...

US Should Spend More On Basic Research

As evidenced by the report of the President’s Commission on National Goals there is urgent need for more basic or pure scientific research in the United States. So, 56 years ago, started the American Letter feature in Electronics Weekly’s edition of December 21st 1960. The article continues: There is every evidence President-elect Kennedy holds this view too. The question is ...

Power Trip

One of the increasing number of things which puzzle me is what IBM is doing in semiconductors. When it sold its semiconductor business to GloFo last year, IBM said that it “expects its unparalleled semiconductor and materials research to continue to advance its capabilities in systems for years to come.” And so it has. A few weeks back IBM announced ...

Intel Said To Be Selling McAfee

Intel, having failed to sell its VC arm, is now putting McAfee on the block, reports the FT. No one could ever explain why it bought McAfee in 2010 in for $7.7 billion. Especially when the EC then extracted an undertaking that any special protection developed for x86 processors would also be offered to AMD. Well, six years later, it ...

China To Feel Qualcomm’s Legal Lash

The Chinese are about to feel the lash of Qualcomm’s fearsome legal department. At the height of Qualcomm’s litigious spree towards the end of the last decade the company was spending $200 million a year on legal fees trying to assert its rights to exploit CDMA technology which it was obliged to license under FRAND terms. Nokia was the main ...

One Of The Seven Most Influential Scientists Since WWII.

Microprocessor inventor Dr Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff Jr. was dubbed by The Economist “one of the seven most influential scientists since World War II”. His originality surfaced early earning him a couple of patents before he’d completed his education. Working in college holidays at the General Railway Signal Company he designed a circuit that detected trains through the audio frequencies ...

The Will Of The People

Crikey. No one expected that. Cameron’s gamble of offering a Referendum to keep his party together before the 2014 election has come massively unstuck. One suspects that the Cameron/Osborne/Johnson tendency to see politics as a game without consequences, has led England into a potentially dangerous situation. The EU is also to blame. At heart it is a decent, liberal-minded, well-meaning ...

Volatility Within Flat Auto IC Market

Despite being seen as a leading semiconductor market driver, the automotive IC market grew only 0.2% last year, says IHS, though the fortunes of the major players were very mixed. The top ten players were: ($bn) NXP 4.2 Infineon 2.9 Renesas 2.7 ST 2.1 TI 1.9 Bosch 1.5 ON 1.1 Micron 0.66 Toshiba 0.65 Osram 0.65 Osram enters the top ...

Fable: The Fall-Out

A team of engineers was once assembled to start a chip company. Heading it were a CEO, an exec vp and three vps. Within three years of founding the company, two of the vps, both of equal status, fell out. The crunch came over the data sheet for what was to become the company’s turning-point product – the chip which ...

Alms For Oblivion

Silicon Valley-ites giving to the poor? It’s like a cat swimming. But an organisation called Y Combinator is giving 100 families in Oakland $1000-2000 a month each. Oakland is that place you end up in if you take take the wrong turn off the Embarcadero and end up going over the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Poor, scary, run-down. But actually ...

The Big Play

As Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One points out there’s no point starting a business where there’s loads of competition. You can’t make money. Taxi-hailing apps are a business which has attracted a large number of competitors, yet Uber has raised $15 billion in backing. Don’t Uber’s backers realise that any cab company can run a hailing app? My local ...