Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Infineon-Cypress deal back on; Intel supplier awards; watches.


Fab tools, materials and packaging
Intel has recognized 37 companies for its annual suppliers’ awards. The list includes equipment, materials, packaging houses and other segments. These suppliers have collaborated with Intel to implement process improvements with good products and services. See who made the list here.


Lam Research has introduced a new plasma etch system. Lam’s Sense.i etch platform is targeted for several chip markets. With a space-saving architecture, the system promises to boost wafer output targets.

Sense.i also features autonomous calibration and maintenance capabilities that reduce downtime and labor costs. It consists of machine learning algorithms, which allow the tool to self-adapt to minimize process variations and maximize wafer output.

Vahid Vahedi, senior vice president and general manager of the Etch product group at Lam Research, said: “Sense.i extends our technology roadmap to meet our customers’ next-generation requirements while solving the critical cost scaling challenges they’re facing in their business.”


SEMI is postponing Semicon Southeast Asia 2020 from May 12-14 to August 11-13. The postponement is due to concern surrounding the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The venue will remain at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC).

The Infineon-Cypress deal is back on. Last year, Infineon Technologies and Cypress Semiconductor signed a definitive agreement under which Infineon will acquire Cypress for $23.85 per share in cash, corresponding to an enterprise value of €9.0 billion. “Bloomberg reported (last week) that U.S. national security officials with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) are recommending President Trump block Infineon’s proposed acquisition of Cypress for $23.85/share, due to concerns of national security risk,” according to John Vinh, an analyst from KeyBanc, in a research note. “Infineon is said to have tried negotiating an agreement with the government that would allow the takeover to proceed, but has failed to reach a deal so far.”

As of March 10, though, the deal is back on. “Contrary to previous reports by Bloomberg, Cypress announced this afternoon that CFIUS has completed its review of Infineon’s proposed acquisition of Cypress for $23.85/share, and determined there’re no unresolved national security concerns,” said Vinh in a new research note. “The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval from China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). We expect the deal to close by early 2Q20.”


TSMC has collaborated with Broadcom on enhancing its Chip-on-Wafer-on-Substrate (CoWoS) platform to support the industry’s first and largest 2X reticle size interposer. With an area of approximately 1,700mm2, this next-generation CoWoS interposer technology boosts the computing power for advanced systems.

STMicroelectronics has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in gallium nitride (GaN) supplier Exagan.

Transphorm, a supplier of GaN semiconductors for power conversion, has raised $21.5 million in equity financing. Prior to the financing, Transphorm has completed a reverse merger with Peninsula Acquisition.

Faraday Technology, an ASIC design service and IP provider, has introduced its low-DPPM solution for diversified applications. Instead of utilizing costly automotive standard compliance methods, this solution supports non-automotive ASIC projects by adopting much more cost-effective ways to achieve low defect rates and meet high-reliability requirements.

David Goeckeler has been appointed chief executive and a member of the Western Digital’s board, effective March 9. Goeckeler currently serves as executive vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Networking and Security Business. Goeckeler succeeds Steve Milligan, who previously announced his intended retirement.

NXP has nominated Kurt Sievers as president and chief executive. Sievers will succeed Richard Clemmer, who has led NXP since 2009. Sievers has been the president of NXP.

Market research
According to Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments held steady at zero growth to reach 375 million units in the fourth quarter of 2019. Apple grabbed first position with 19% global smartphone market share, Samsung claimed second position, while Huawei dipped to 15% share in third place. Full-year smartphone shipments totaled 1.4 billion units in 2019, according to the firm.

According to Strategy Analytics, global 5G smartphone shipments reached 19 million units in 2019. Huawei holds first position with 37% global 5G smartphone market share, followed by Samsung in second place at 36% share.

Meanwhile, Apple’s smartwatch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple Watch shipped 31 million units globally, while Swiss watches reached 21 million, according to the firm. Swiss companies, like Swatch, are losing the smartwatch wars.

Steven Waltzer, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “We estimate Apple Watch shipped 30.7 million units worldwide in 2019, growing a healthy 36% from 22.5 million in 2018. A blend of attractive design, user-friendly tech and sticky apps makes the Apple Watch wildly popular in North America, Western Europe and Asia.”

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, added: “We estimate the entire Swiss watch industry together shipped 21.1 million units worldwide in 2019, falling 13% from 24.2 million in 2018. Analog wristwatches remain popular among older consumers, but younger buyers are tipping toward smartwatches and computerized wristwear.”

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