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Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Many European companies – run by accountants – could not conceive of paying non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs to get a custom chip made and so forced their engineers to use FPGAs. The ES2 experiment lasted ten years before Atmel came in and took over the site in 1995. On the evidence of the Rousset saga Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, has no hope of resuscitating European chip manufacturing. The continent is more divided and less confident than it was in the 1980s and her “Airbus of chips” initiative appears destined to crash and burn. If someone can raise an argument to the contrary, please write to us here at EE Times Europe. Acquisitions shake up telecoms chip landscape By Nick Flaherty Two major acquisitions are set to change the landscape of networking and telecom chip development. Intel has acquired the wireless baseband division of Mindspeed, including its UK picochip operation, while Avago Technologies has acquired network processor developer LSI. Intel sees the acquisition of the wireless infrastructure division of Mindspeed as one of the final building blocks in its telecoms strategy. The deal ended up being part of the $272m sale of Mindspeed to M/A Com and brings the products, people and IP, much of which comes from the acquisition of UK femtocell chip developer picoChip, into the storage and communications group of Intel. While Intel has been penetrating the basestation controller and cloud server market with its x86 devices, Mindspeed is built around the ARM architecture, and the picoChip products also integrate ARM cores. However the software skills in the radio access network (RAN) is a key part of the acquisition, says Rose Schooler, VP and general manager of the group. Similarly the $6.6bn acquisition of LSI by Avago creates a highly diversified semiconductor market leader with approximately $5 billion in annual revenues by adding enterprise storage to Avago’s existing wired infrastructure, wireless and industrial businesses. The company says it will be strongly positioned to capitalize on the growing opportunities created by the rapid increases in data center IP and mobile data traffic as a result of the deal. “This highly complementary and compelling acquisition positions Avago as a leader in the enterprise storage market and expands our offerings and capabilities in wired infrastructure, particularly system-level expertise,” said Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Avago. “This combination will increase the Company’s scale and diversify our revenue and customer base. In addition to these powerful strategic benefits, as we integrate LSI onto the Avago platform, we expect to drive LSI’s operating margins toward Avago’s current levels, creating significant additional value for stockholders.” “This transaction provides immediate value to our stockholders, and offers new growth opportunities for our employees to develop a wider range of leading-edge solutions for customers,” said Abhi Talwalkar, President and Chief Executive Officer of LSI. “Our leadership positions in enterprise storage and networking, in combination with Avago, create greater scale to further drive innovations into the datacenter.” LSI has always had a strong presence in Europe, dating back to its fabs as ASIC foundry LSI Logic. It had recently moved its network processor architecture from PowerPC to ARM, developing an eight core device supported by custom accelerator blocks. Avago currently anticipates achieving cost savings of $200m a year and is funding the deal with $1bn from its own cash, a $4.6 billion term loan from a group of banks and a $1 billion investment from Silver Lake Partners. Agilent Technologies to spin-off Keysight Technologies by early November 2014 By Julien Happich Agilent technologies has revealed the name of the electronic measurement company it expects to spin off in early November 2014 as Keysight Technologies. The new company’s tagline, “unlocking measurement insights for 75 years,” commemorates the 1939 birth of the original Hewlett-Packard Company, from which Keysight originated. Keysight will concentrate solely on the electronic measurement industry, focusing on its test and measurement customers. The business, currently a part of Agilent, is the world leader in test and measurement, holding the No. 1 position in its industry segments of wireless data ecosystem; aerospace and defense; and industrial, computers and semiconductors. The new company will include the entire portfolio of Agilent electronic measurement products and the largest sales and support team in the test and measurement industry. Due to become a standalone company in early November 2014, Keysight will be headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., and have approximately 9,500 employees in 30 countries. 6 Electronic Engineering Times Europe January 2014 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE JAN 2014
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