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PuneChips Weekly Roundup: Nortel, Moore’s Law, Graphene, 3G and more

(This is a roundup of last week’s semiconductor/EDA industry news by Abhijit Athavale founder/editor of PuneChips – Pune’s forum for the semiconductor industry. For more information about PuneChips see the PuneTech wiki profile of PuneChips)

The integrated circuit from an Intel 8742, a 8...
Image via Wikipedia

Please keep the responses coming. It is encouraging to see that as a writer. Last week’s mention goes to Sagar Khedkar, who picked out Iranian Politics 101 as the OT item. Congratulations!

Last week was pretty packed from a news standpoint so the newsletter is a little long as well.

Markets

  • Nortel done for good: Nortel has sold off whatever was remaining to Nokia Siemens Networks. I remember the days when Nortel was one of biggest OEM customer for a majority of semiconductor companies. No more, RIP!
  • More on Moore!

    While the demise of Moore’s law has been predicted many times, will this prediction be true? Could be, if you are thinking that the cost per transistor will decline due to process geometries. However, there may be other methods of reducing the cost other than using a smaller process node. Some out of the box or lateral thinking may be needed to keep Moore’s law alive.

    BTW, a little birdie told me that 2014 will unleash a new economic up-wave much like 1999. I wonder if that will again be based on advances in the semiconductor/nano-tech fields.

  • KPMG to pay Vitesse $22.5M in settlement: This has to be the first of its kind. Collusion with the management to doctor financial statements doesn’t pay anymore
  • Semiconductor Market updates: There are just too many of those every week so rather than adding links, I will just summarize. The curious readers can go find the articles themselves
    • Gartner is claiming that the semi market has hit the bottom and is increasing capex outlook. I wonder if they will have to eat their words. Gartner is also saying that IT spending will fall 3.8% this year, but grow by 2.4% next year – I just don’t understand how this works; if the biggest downturn after the great depression can cause a decline of 3.8%, a bounceback of 2.4% next year would absolutely have to be backed up by heady growth, which does not seem likely.
    • iSuppli says that semi sales were pretty bad last quarter, but like Gartner is calling Q1, 2009 as the bottom and saying that Q4, 2009 will be better than Q4, 2008. We shall see ….
    • Japan fab tool book to bill has climbed from 0.65 in April to 0.74 in May. Again the claim is that we have reached the bottom. How do we get this number? The three month average for worldwide billing was $391.1M in May while it was $385.7M in April. This does not really seem to be a quantitative improvement and to call a bottom based on this certainly does seem to be a leap of faith.

    In general, people are trying to be optimistic. However, I am not sure that we are going to see any quantitative improvement even if we are at a bottom. We could be at the bottom for a long time. Forget these numbers and just look at Chinese and Japanese exports for the past few months – they have fallen in May as well. That tells me that there is no one buying those chips that people are making!

  • Analog Devices launches a new website: This is a prime example of marketing people creating news of out nothing and the press covering it. I wonder if ADI also held press briefings to herald the advent of a new website to the editors.
  • India’s Solar plans: Going by the past record in power generation, I will be happy even if we see 1% of the 1GW power generation target
  • New Energy guidelines for the US and the EU: Now this is something I wholeheartedly support. Government regulation in this case will spur innovation and reduce power consumption, possibly giving better returns to the companies. According to the news item, energy start rated appliances saved ~$19b from the US energy expenditure costs.

PC/Processor

  • Sun may cancel Rock, a high-end Server CPU: The Rock may turn into a Brick as Sun failed to submit a paper at the HotChips conference. They should really give up the pretense. They have lost the battle and the war and need to focus on something that they do really well.
  • EU warns Microsoft against not including the browser in Windows 7: Microsoft seems to be caught between a rock (pun not intended) and a hard place. After punishing them for including IE with WIndows, now the EU is telling them not including the browser will be a problem as well. Instead, they should include a choice of browsers with the OS, albeit tested, so the lazy bums on the EU competition commission don’t have to download and install.

Mobile

  • India sets 3G base fee at $835M: Get on with this already. We are tired and waiting to get 3G. While I am not sure, this may be the first instance where mobile companies have the 3G networks ready, but the spectrum is not. No wonder the Indian Bureacrats were ranked way at the bottom.
  • First look at iPhone 3GS: Looking at the Broadcom and Toshiba chips inside, people are saying that the “S” stands for Savings …

Storage

Technology

That’s all for this week …

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