Tag: Broadcom

Broadcom buys Brocade

broadcom_logoChipmaker Broadcom is writing a $5.9 billion cheque for networking systems supplier Brocade.

Broadcom said that it will be an all-cash transaction for a total of $5.5 billion, plus $400 million of net debt. Brocade’s board of directors has approved the deal and Broadcom expects to complete the acquisition in the second half of its fiscal 2017.

Broadcom said it would retain Brocade’s fibre channel SAN switching business and divest Brocade’s IP networking business – including the recently acquired Ruckus Wireless.

Hock Tan, president and CEO of Broadcom said the deal enhances Broadcom’s position as one of the leading providers of enterprise storage connectivity solutions to OEM customers.

“With deep expertise in mission-critical storage networking, Brocade increases our ability to address the evolving needs of our OEM customers. In addition, we are confident that we will find a great home for Brocade’s valuable IP networking business that will best position that business for its next phase of growth.”

Broadcom said the deal does not depend on Brocade’s off-loading its IP networking business.

Lloyd Carney, Chief Executive Officer of Brocade, in a statement that the transaction represents significant value for our shareholders and creates new opportunities for our customers and partners.

“Our FC SAN solutions will help Broadcom create one of the industry’s broadest portfolios for enterprise storage. We will work with Broadcom as it seeks to find a buyer for our IP networking business, which includes a full portfolio of open, hardware and software-based solutions spanning the core of the data center to the network edge.”

Brocade, just completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of wireless vendor Ruckus Wireless in May. Brocade reported $2.26 billion in revenue in fiscal 2015. It just closed its fiscal 2016 on Monday and has not yet reported results for its fourth quarter and full fiscal 2016.

Broadcom said Brocade’s fibre channel SAN business would contribute approximately $900 million of pro forma non-GAAP EBITDA earnings in its fiscal 2018.

Freescale-NXP merger challenges the giants

renesas-chips (1)The proposed merger of Freescale and NXP will result in a semiconductor company that challenges the giants.

That’s according to chief analyst Dale Ford at IHS, who said the merged entity will be in the top 10 semiconductor companies in the world, outranking other giants such as Broadcom and ST Microelectronics.

He said the strength of uniting Freescale and NXP will be shown in automotive applications particularly.

NXP, formerly the semiconductor division of Dutch giant Philips, used to compete in the same market, said Ford.

But the new top 10 will look fundamentally different. By revenues, Intel will remain number one with 14.14 percent, followed by Samsung, Qualcomm, SK Hynix, US DRAM firm Micron, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.

The merged company will be second place in the micro controller market, and it will also have significant share in the digital signal processing (DSP) market, much used in consumer applications.

IHS noted in its report that Freescale is practically an exclusive source for power architecture processors – and although its share in this market is tiny compared to ARM and X86 semiconductors, it has big wins in the military aerospace market.

PC Partner partner gets into 3D printing

manli-simplyprint-3d-printer-2PC Partner partner Manli has launched two 3D printers which look the spit of something already on the market.

According to Fudzilla the move mimics one carried out by Inno3D. Both outfits are PC Partner brands and the printers are practically twins.

The Manli SimplyPrint 3D is a rebadged Inno3D Printer M1, while the Manli MXPrint 3D is the Inno3D Printer D1.

The specs are the same. All of them have a build volume of 140mm (L) x 140mm(W) x 150mm (H), layer resolution of 0.13-0.30mm, 0.4mm nozzle and all use standard 1.75mm filament. The MXPrint 3D features an open design with a metal frame, while the SimplyPrint 3D is enclosed in a plastic shroud.

Inno3D is pricing the printers at €1,150 in Europe and Manli’s printers should cost about the same. Manli is PC Partner’s brand for Asia, so its products are usually not available in western markets.

Still it is an odd step sideways for Manli which is better known as an Nvidia partner and maker of motherboards and cards.

Broadcom says people will still buy non 4G Wi-Fi

alleyneBroadcom Chief Executive Scott McGregor claims high-end smartphone makers will keep using his company’s Wi-Fi chips even though it is no longer pursuing 4G technology.

The outfit said in July it was winding down its money-losing cellular baseband chip business after struggling to compete against larger rival Qualcomm.

While getting out of baseband reduces costs and lets Broadcom concentrate on its better-performing networking and broadband businesses, it leaves the chipmaker at a competitive disadvantage flogging its Wi-Fi chips in the smartphone market.

McGreggor admitted to Reuters  that Broadcom was “definitely at risk,” but the reality of it remains to be seen.

 “The higher-end smartphone space is most likely to stay with Broadcom because that’s where they care most about the features and capabilities we offer.”

Broadcom currently makes Wi-Fi chips for Apple, Samsung and other high-end handsets. But without baseband technology, Broadcom’s Wi-Fi chips may be less attractive to low-end smartphone makers, who typically choose platforms that integrate both Wi-Fi and baseband in order to save money.

Apple and other manufacturers making top-tier phones could also eventually opt to combine Wi-Fi and baseband as technology improvements make it possible to squeeze more and more features onto single chip.

McGregor said steady improvements in Broadcom’s Wi-Fi technology, like increasing range, reducing interference and using wifi to determine precise locations, were reasons for manufacturers to keep buying Broadcom’s chips.

Shares of Broadcom have surged 26 percent since the company said in June it was deciding how to get out of baseband technology, which was costing about $600 million a year in research and administration costs.

Broadcom intros combo chip

broadcom_logoSemiconductor firm Broadcom has completed work on integrating global navigation satellite system and a sensor hub combination chip on the same die.

The company said the chip will be used to create apps for health, fitness and so called “life logging”, by providing software with an always on background location. Life logging means a mobile device knows where you are and the chip will manage functions to maximise battery life.

The integrated global navigation chip will provide a direct connection to wi-fi technology and so will improve battery power and context awareness.

The chip, the BCM4773 allows information from wi-fi, Bluetooth Smart, GPS and MEMS (micro electro-mechanical systems) to be calculated on one SoC (system on a chip) instead of having to use the application processor.  The design, claims Broadcom, will reduce the printed circuit board area by 34 percent and can offer up to 80 percent power savings.

Broadcom says the chip will support five different satellite systems including GPS, GLONASS, SBAS, QZSS and BeiDou.  The chip is already in production.

Semiconductor market to grow three percent

silicon-waferThe worldwide semiconductor market is expected to grow 3 percent this year. The market has been seeing sequential growth for several consecutive quarters and most vendors believe they will end the year on a positive note, just barely.

“It has been a tough few years for the semiconductor industry. While we haven’t seen a dramatic decline in overall revenues since the 2008/2009 period the market has been pretty stagnant since 2010,” comments Peter Cooney, practice director. “We will see some growth in 2013 as the wider economic environment improves but major market growth is not expected until later in 2014, early 2015.”

The year will be remembered for several major mergers and acquisitions rather than record growth. Fujitsu and Panasonic semicon divisions are merging and Micron has scooped up Elpida. Intel has strengthened its portfolio with the ST-Ericsson GPU unit merger, while Broadcom bought Renesas Mobile’s LTE assets.

ABI Research noted that consolidation in the industry should come as no surprise, as chipmakers are forced to deal with far stiffer competition and lower margins.

“Margins are falling and the competitive environment is tough—especially in the mobile device market—this is driving vendors to re-evaluate their overall strategy and pull out of some of their once major markets. We have seen a number of major vendors exit the mobile device market – Freescale, TI, STMicroelectronics, and Renesas and we expect there are more to come,” said Cooney.

 

Chip revenues down

arm_chipRevenues for the global semiconductor market dropped two percent year on year to $295 billion in 2012, IDC’s latest semiconductor application forecast reports.

Consumer spending slumped in the second half of the year which had a significant impact, but this was also combined with a slowing down in industrial and other market segments too. Europe’s economic crisis leaned on the PC market and China, too, was not spending as much as had been hoped. IDC notes the “lackluster” Windows 8 launch did not prove to be the boon for PC sales manufacturers were praying for.

Cheaper Chinese suppliers pressured average selling prices and dragged down overall revenues.

Just 17 companies with revenues of a billion or more, of the 120 that IDC tracks, managed growth of over five percent for 2012. Most saw declining revenues, including the majority in the top ten. Qualcomm, Broadcom, NXP, Nvidia, MediaTek, Apple and Sharp were the few in the 25 largest companies that registered positive growth.

Intel, IDC points out, saw revenues plunge $50 billion for the year, a drop of three percent, attributed mainly to weak PC demand and failing to make significant inroads into the tablet and smartphones market. Samsung saw revenues fall six percent. Texas Instruments , at number four, saw a decline of six percent.

Qualcomm, however, was a winner – ranking third in 2012 and growing revenues 34 percent to reach $13.2 billion. IDC states that this is largely due to Snapdragon and its prevalance in modem technology.

Altogether, the top ten vendors – including Broadcom, Renesas, Hynix, STMicro and Micron, held 52 percent of global semiconductor revenues, seeing a three percent decline compared to the previous year. The top 25 companies overall declined three percent, bringing in revenue of $206 billion.

Semiconductor device types were a mixed bag. Fastest growing were sensors and actuators, but these made up just two percent of overall revenues. ASSPs represented 32 percent of overall revenues and grow four percent thanks to media, graphics, and application processors, as well as RF and mixed signal ASSPs. Optoelectronics made up six percent of the revenues, growing five person on the back of image sensors and LEDs. Microcomponents declined five percent, while memory declined ten percent, holding 17 percent of all industry revenues. Analogue declined by seven percent to account for seven percent of all revenues.

IDC’s semiconductors research manager Michael J Palma said in a statement that the challenge is to “zero in on their key value propositions”.

“Whether that is in modem or connectivity technologies, sensors, mixed-signal processing or power management, there are areas of the market showing strong potential,” Palma said. “However, competing in crowded segments with little differentiation has contributed to the slowdown in semiconductor revenues”.