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Why You Should Have Got Out Of The IC Industry 7 Years Ago

Seven years ago, Dwight Decker, at that time Chairman of  both Conexant and the GSA, presented ten reasons why the chip industry was a bad industry to be in: “Growth has dramatically slowed”, said Decker, “up to the mid-1990s it was 20%  a year; now it’s in single digits.” “Software is now a huge part of production cost. Verification has ...

The Pot Of Gold At The End Of ARM’s Server Rainbow

There’s an interesting little calculation in Barron’s by Pacific Crest Securities about the financial effect of Google adopting Qualcomm server processors. It is rumoured that Qualcomm will announce this next Thursday. The financiers take Google’s estimated 2016 capex of $12 billion and calculate that Google could buy a million server units in 2016. They estimate that the opportunity could mean ...

Pols’ Pot

Sometimes you think our pols smoke strange stuff, sometimes you think they’ve gullibly swallowed a tall tale, and sometimes you think they’re stupid. A report  in the Evening Standard yesterday says that Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin says that electric cars can be wirelessly charged while travelling by inductive coupling systems laid under roads though there’s the “difficulty that the ...

Cute Move By Xilinx To Boost Data-Centre ICs

Xilinx has announced a clever wheeze to counteract the Intel-Altera combo effect in data centre chips. When Intel realised that FPGA technology could boost its server chips it bought Altera for $16 billion. Not having $16 billion, but wanting to boost its server chips with FPGA technology, Applied Micro formed a technology development partnership with Xilinx. Qualcomm has done the ...

Fable: The Exec Who Made Mistakes

There was once an executive who was reluctant to make the transition from discretes to ICs. He was slow to engage in the transition from bipolar to MOS. Before the PC market developed, he turned down a proposal to make PCs. He became the richest man in the industry. Moral: You don’t have to be right all the time

Google To Endorse Qualcomm’s ARM-Based Server Processors

In a massive move for the ARM-based server chip camp, Google is about to endorse Qualcomm’s server chips, reports Bloomberg. Next Thursday Google is expected to say that it will use Qualcomm’s server chips if they meet certain performance goals. Google is the world’s biggest server buyer and third biggest buyer of server processors – buying 300,000 server processors a ...

Top Ten (+5 ) Runners In The US Presidential Stakes

Thanks to BoyleSports for this one – the top 15 runners in the betting for the US Presidency: Hillary Clinton 5/6 Marco Rubio 5/2 Donald Trump 6/1 Bernie Sanders 7/1 Ted Cruz 12/1 Jeb Bush 40/1 Michael Bloomberg 50/1 Joe Biden 50/1 Chris Christie 100/1 John Kasich 150/1 Ben Carson 200/1 Rick Santorum 250/1 Rand Paul 250/1 Jim Gilmore 300/1 ...

Beggar-My-Neighbour

The economists are bloody useless. They didn’t see the crash coming and they don’t know how to deal with its consequences. It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain cell that growth in the world economy is stagnating because all the money is piled up doing nothing. Money, like muck, does most good when spread thin. Most people spend the ...

Internet of Terriers

Thanks to Mike Bryant for this one I was going to call it the Internet of Utter Crap but Mike persuaded me that Internet of Terriers was better. Is this what IoT has come to? It’s giving us all a good laugh but is that it?    

Top 10 Hot Areas 2016

Thanks to Juniper Research for this one – its top ten hot tips for 2016: 1. Virtual Reality — a watershed year. 2. Consumer robotics becomes a reality 3. Wearables go to work 4. The race for 5G begins 5. Many devices, one platform 6. Blockchain technology embraced by financial institutions 7. Hybrid console & cloud gaming gathers pace 8. eSports delivers ...

After STB Demise, Whither Crolles? Or Wither?

After the decision to pull out of set-top-box activities, the question arises: What will happen to Crolles2? Crolles1 has already beef  subject to enquiries from Altis for use as a foundry. Crolles2 is the most advanced fab ST has and the company says it plans to hang on to it. ST CFO Carlo Ferro says the workload on Crolles will ...

All-Transistor Computer from GE.

An all-transistor general purpose computer, the GE-225, has been developed by International General Electric of New York. So, 55 years ago, started a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of September 7th 1960 The story continues It is said to have a “general compiler ” programming technique which enables words and svmbols to be automatically translated into machine language. The machine ...

Fab Veg

Toshiba and Fujitsu both turned old fabs into lettuce farms as health-conscious Japanese salad-eaters turned away from soil-raised lettuce. Since November, Panasonic has been selling veg to Singaporeans which was grown in a veg factory in Singapore capable of producing 80 tons of veg a year, reports the Nikkei, Panasonic plans to increase that to 1000 tons in two to ...

Driverless Dilemma

Down in the Wheatsheaf over the weekend the opinion was that driverless cars would never happen because, if they did, pedestrians would gain perpetual and ubiquitous priority over cars. This is because no civilised government could afford to permit a driverless car on the road which could run over humans. Knowing this, humans would happily walk in front of driverless ...

The Everlasting Vision

The two greatest names in the industry have a common vision – The Connected Home – with these two guys behind the vision how can it not become reality? Ahem. Quite easily actually. In his keynote speech at the 2005 Consumer Electronics Show (CES),Bill  Gates was saying how Microsoft is producing the standards which can enable the networked home. A week ...

DX Bollox

In the great ocean of bolllox sweeping across the tech world e.g. the ‘as a service’ (aaS) thing, the IoT thing, driverless cars, wearables etc, the concept of ‘DX’ has a notable place. DX, meaning digital transformation, appears to be another of those BS marketing terms which are used to make managers feel guilty if they haven’t understood or implemented ...

Fable: The Man Who Kicked Off Four Decades Of Scaling

There was once a scientist who scaled an eight micron process to one micron and found that so long as the electric field was constant, performance stayed the same. The scientist’s colleagues went further and found that, with a constant electric field, practically every other characteristic of MOS transistors – density, speed and energy efficiency – could be improved by ...

The Biscuit Industry

Is it interesting that semiconductor M&A spend increased nearly 2.8X last year while R&D spend increased  by 0.5%? Well one year’s figures don’t mean much but the big rise in M&A might. Ever since private equity bought NXP and Freescale a decade ago, the thought has loomed: Has the semiconductor industry become like the biscuit industry – product doesn’t change ...

After 45 Years Greenock Faces Closure

An iconic semiconductor industry installation is under threat after 45 years of operation. Natsemi’s Greenock fab, built by Ernie Friburg in 1970, three years after Charlie Sporck became CEO of National, is to be phased out over the next three years by National’s owners TI. “We found good employees plus excellent technical people among the local population,” recalled Sporck in ...

Top Ten Happiest National Workforces

. Thanks to Universum for this one – the ten happiest national work forces: 1. Belgium (score 33.41) 2. Norway (32.32) 3. Costa Rica (31.98) 4. Denmark (31.53) 5. South Africa (31.51) 6. Austria (30.40) 7. Switzerland (30.35) 8. Greece (30.31) 9. Czech Republic (30.00) 10. Russia (29.93