The Week In Review: Manufacturing & Design

Company life spans; Apple goes to Big Apple; Splinter’s award; silicon wafer shipments.

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Gartner says the natural life cycle of a technology-driven company is less than 10 years. “To compete in this environment, business leaders must destroy and rebuild the very businesses they helped create,” said Steve Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow. He cited examples of IBM Personal Systems Group, Nokia, MySpace, Kodak, Borders, HMV and other companies that have struggled or even failed to remain relevant.

GlobalFoundries is preparing to make Apple‘s iPhone and iPad chips at its fab in New York, according to The Times Union. Samsung will help with the launch.

IHS Analyst Jérémie Bouchaud predicts that the MEMS industry will grow twice as fast as the semiconductor industry. At the recent MEMS Executive Congress, Gregg Bartlett, chief technology officer of GlobalFoundries, said: “MEMS is an innovation race, not an arms race. If you can dream it, it can be built. That’s the beauty of MEMS. It is limited only by someone’s ability to conceive it.”

Applied Materials reported its results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Oct. 27, 2013. Fourth quarter net sales were $1.99 billion, up 1% sequentially.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced that Mike Splinter, former CEO and current executive chairman of the board of directors at Applied Materials, has been named the 2013 recipient of SIA’s highest honor, the Robert N. Noyce Award. SIA presents the Noyce Award annually in recognition of a leader who has made contributions to the U.S. semiconductor industry in technology or public policy.

Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments declined during the third quarter 2013, when compared to second quarter 2013 area shipments, according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group in its quarterly analysis of the silicon wafer industry.

Morris Chang has stepped down as CEO of TSMC. He will remain chairman. TSMC has named Mark Liu and C. C. Wei as president and co-CEOs of TSMC. They will report to Chang. The finance and legal organizations will continue to report to Chang.

Teradyne has named Mark Jagiela to succeed Michael Bradley as CEO, effective Jan. 31, 2014. Jagiela will join the board as well. He is currently the company’s president and a 31-year veteran of Teradyne. Bradley will continue as a director of the company.

China’s fabless semiconductor industry continues to consolidate. Tsinghua Unigroup will acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares of Chinese chipmaker RDA Microelectronics.

The planar 20nm era is here. Xilinx announced the semiconductor industry’s first 20nm product, which is manufactured by TSMC. It is also the PLD industry’s first 20nm all programmable device.

IDT recently announced a new wireless power receiver meeting the Wireless Power Consortium’s (WPC) 1.1 “Qi” specification and optimized for high-volume portable consumer applications.

Although Samsung and Apple dominated the total smartphone market in 2012 and are expected to do so again in 2013, Chinese vendors are expected to have a significant presence in the smartphone supplier ranking this year, according to IC Insights.

Smartphones will soon be able to predict a consumer’s next move, their next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows, according to Gartner. This insight will be performed based on an individual’s data gathered using cognizant computing — the next step in personal cloud computing.