Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.


Fable: The Poetical Scientist

One of the greatest of all scientists wrote poems, of which this is one:

I know not what this may betoken,
That I feel so wondrous wise;
My dream of existence is broken
Since science has opened my eyes.
At the British Association
I heard the President’s speech,

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Wonders Never Cease

Wonders never cease in the semiconductor industry. Digitimes reports that the acquisitive Tsinghua Unigroup which has already bagged up Spreadtrum and RDA Microelectronics and has a $23 billion bid for Micron outstanding, is trying to buy Toshiba and SanDisk.

Now SanDisk one can imagine is a possibility because it is…

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Artful Dodgers

Today, in Lima Peru, the OECD presents to the G20 its proposals to eliminate the blight of multinational tax-dodging which sees companies like Apple, Amazon and Starbucks pay little or no tax.

60 governments have agreed to rules aimed at stopping tax avoidance by multinational companies, says the OECD…

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Smart Poaching

The fact that China is serious about getting into the DRAM industry can be shown by the poaching of Charles Kao.

Kao is a formidable figure in the Taiwan chip industry as the founding CEO of Nanya, the DRAM company established in 1995 by Taiwan’s then biggest company Formosa…

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Top Ten (less 5) Server Vendors

Thanks to Gartner for this one – the top five server vendors in Q2 2015 measured by revenue:

$. % share

HP 3,428,089,692 25.2

Dell 2,361,553,746. 17.4

IBM. 1,869,261,145. 13.7

Lenovo. 949,775,89 7.0

Cisco 866,700,000. 6…

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The Price of Early Success

Kindle is an interesting case.

The first one was a dream of a product. Battery life of weeks. Light. Easy to turn the pages. Could read in bright sunlight. Sold like hot-cakes.
Then they wanted an upgrade path so they produced Kindle 2 – touch screen, heavier, thicker – a bit…

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Driverless Or Clueless?

It doesn’t say much for the state of the art in driverless cars when the first Japanese trials will feature a single route of 3km from a Fujisawa residential area to a supermarket.

Moreover, on each trip, each vehicle will have a couple of operatives on-board to take…

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DIDAS Watches Over Bluebird

As Donald Campbell drives his jet-powered Bluebird over the Bonneville Salt Flats in his attempt on the world land speed record, engineers up to 15 miles away in a Land Rover will be able to see what is happening in the car.

So, 55 years ago, opened a story…

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Micron Faltering

Micron, now the world’s sixth biggest, semiconductor company seemed to have put itself in a strong position when it bought Elpida and became one of only three major companies in the DRAM business.

As well as taking out a competitor, the Elpida acquidition gave Micron a good position in…

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Crolles In Play

Whatever French President Francois Hollande decides, it looks as though ST’s DPG operation with its fabs at Crolles is in play.

An approach from the owner of the French foundry Altis – basedon IBM’s old fab at Corbeil-Essonnes – has been taken sufficiently seriously for the French finance ministry…

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The Technology That Took 20 Years To Become Mainstream

53 years Frank Wanlass had the idea of putting negative and positive transistors on the same chip.

Wanlass filed a patent on it but his employer, Fairchild, never thought it worthwhile making CMOS. RCA did.

Two years after Wanlass’ patent filing RCA had produced a working CMOS chip and the…

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Crolles Attracts Buying Interest

ST’s digital products division (DPG) has attracted interest from a potential acquirer, reports the French business magazine Challenges.

However the potential acquirer may be no more welcome to ST employees than he is to the French finance ministry.

The possible buyer is Yazid Sabeq, a former Commissioner for Diversity…

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More Jam For Jha?

Is Sanjay Jha preparing for another mega exit?

Jha took a bankrupt Motorola Mobility and flogged it to Google for $12.5 billion.

Now, with China prepared to pay silly money for chip assets, the GloFo boss may be lining up another big exit for the Abu Dhabi-owned foundry…

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Wobbling Your Scooter

Imagine, if you will, being President Francois Hollande toying with his escargots amid the gilt and mirrors of the Elysée Palace before calling for his scooter to pop round to his pièce de crumpet for the cinq à sept.

Very agreeable, you might think, if it weren’t for…

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Is 6S Sinking SOX?

Either Apple’s effect on the chip industry is pretty huge or there’s general gloom out there, but many of the suppliers of ICs for the new iPhones have seen their stocks fall.

Against a 2% dip in the SOX, iPhone suppliers NXP, ADI, Qorvo, Cirrus, Fairchild, and Avago…

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Fable: The Pragmatic Statistician

36 years ago a mathematician worked for the government of the Soviet Union tasked with producing statistics which showed that living standards in the Soviet Union were superior to living standards in America.

Unconvinced by the stats he emigrated to America with his wife and six year-old son.


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VR - The Perennial NBT

Here we go again – one of various NBTs being touted around is Virtual Reality.

26 years ago one of various NBTs being touted around was an Inmos spin-off called Division which was pursuing Virtual Reality. Founded in 1989, Division listed on the stock exchange in 1993.

Those were heady…

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Semiconductor Intelligence Finds Supply Chain Inventories Under Control

Despite alarm about the state of semiconductor inventories, particularly from the foundries, Bill Jewell’s Semiconductor Intelligence says that: “Semiconductor inventories appear to be under control throughout the semiconductor device supply chain.”

At the semiconductor manufacturers inventory ratios have been stable for eighteen months, says Jewell

Exceptions are Intel and…

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A Libor Or Anti-Freeze Moment?

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Austrian anti-freeze scandal.

In 1985, it was discovered that Austrian wine-makers had been lacing their products with a chemical which was also used to make anti-freeze.

It killed the Austrian wine industry stone dead.

In 1985, Austria exported 45…

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Crolles' Future Rests On Hollande

The French business weekly magazine Challenges reports that the future of ST’s digital division is now in the hands of President Francois Hollande.

The French Economics Minister and the Defence Minister have reviewed the possible divestment or closure of Crolles, the Finance Ministry has had it say, the CFE…

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