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Apple iPhone made in China

Apple Created a Brilliant But Now Nightmarish Supply Chain

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?
A reduction in Apple’s manufacturing, procurement and other supply chain engagements with China may be desirable because of geopolitical and other constraints. But a divorce may be close to impossible because it involves not one, but hundreds of supply chains, managed by the company’s suppliers.

Apple and China. China and Apple.

Outside of the abrupt breakout of war, it will take years, if not decades, for Apple Inc. to drastically reduce or eliminate its dependence on China.

Read More »Apple Created a Brilliant But Now Nightmarish Supply Chain
zero Covid protest

China’s Zero-Covid Conundrum

By George Leopold

What’s at stake:
Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid edict painted his country into a corner, and it’s unclear how China can extract itself from Xi’s disastrous public-health policy. The rest of the world braces for the economic consequences of Beijing’s next move. 

How Beijing’s zero-Covid stance mutates into a sustainable public-health policy is the key question for the Chinese people and Western companies seeking to maintain their links to China’s supply chains and contract manufacturers.

Read More »China’s Zero-Covid Conundrum
Omnitron Sensors’ test structure for process verification of its step-scanning MEMS actuator

Claiming a New MEMS Topology, Startup Promises ‘Disruption’

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
The performance of MEMS devices has stagnated because MEMS manufacturing process technologies have failed to advance significantly. An Los Angeles-based startup believes it can fix that. Omnitron Sensors claims to have proven its new process technology through development of an optical subsystem for MEMS lidar. Industry experts want to see Omnitron’s patents before judging whether “disruptive” is the word that applies to the new manufacturing process technology.

The semiconductor industry has Moore’s Law and process nodes. Both help chip developers gauge progress and advance chip designs.

But what about micro-mechanical systems, or MEMS?

Read More »Claiming a New MEMS Topology, Startup Promises ‘Disruption’
decision time for congressional negotiators on CHIPS Act

Tech M&A Conundrum: Lessons from Nvidia’s Arm Gamble

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?

Semiconductor and other technology M&A proposals are becoming more difficult to execute due to the influence of powerful geopolitical players whose calculations go beyond traditional motives of higher revenue, profits, and market share.

Nvidia Corp.’s abandoned $40 billion offer for Arm set in motion a series of unfortunate developments that have put the semiconductor IP vendor in a tenuous position.

Months after the offer was cancelled, Arm is still caught in a tangled web. While Nvidia is now free of a regulatory onslaught of its own making, fate has yet to set Arm on the path to true freedom. Its current owners want to sell but cannot find a buyer. Arm wants to return to the equity market via an IPO, but that path remains tortuous.

Read More »Tech M&A Conundrum: Lessons from Nvidia’s Arm Gamble
AMD/Xilinx-based systems In a vehicle

No Frills, No Hype: AMD’s ‘Pragmatic’ Plan for a New Car Architecture

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
By acquiring Xilinx, AMD has the ammunition to move aggressively into next-generation automotive architectures. Yet, thus far the company has revealed scant details for a combined AMD/Xilinx automotive platform. With Xilinx’ Zynq FPGAs entrenched in the market, is AMD the victim of its own success? Is it complacent? Or is AMD reading the automotive industry — historically very slow to embracing new technologies — just right? 

Read More »No Frills, No Hype: AMD’s ‘Pragmatic’ Plan for a New Car Architecture

Intel: Why Gelsinger Should Become CEO of Foundry Business

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?
Patrick Gelsinger has championed the transition of Intel into a manufacturing and foundry giant. As part of that process, he should take over as CEO of Intel Foundry Services and take charge of its future. Pending a possible spin off, Intel should name a separate CEO for the client computing, datacenter and AI, network and edge and accelerated computing systems and graphics businesses.

Read More »Intel: Why Gelsinger Should Become CEO of Foundry Business
Mike Noonen

Mike Noonen: The Startup Launching Maestro

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?
Mike Noonen is the man semiconductor startup founders and venture capitalists call upon to hustle their investments through production to IPO or acquisition. By joining AR/VR holographic chip developer Swave, Noonen is about to accelerate disruption of the virtual imaging market.

The Mike Noonen semiconductor startup academy would be a roaring success. That is, if Noonen, now CEO of Swave Photonics, had one.

Read More »Mike Noonen: The Startup Launching Maestro
electric vehicle software

Automakers Accelerate Shift Toward EV, Software Prowess

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake?
A lingering chip shortage has given semiconductor makers the upper hand for now with car manufacturers. But the changing profile of the auto industry, whose work force is increasingly IT-savvy, is transforming the way traditional automotive chip suppliers design devices. Qualcomm, Mobileye and Nvidia remain the leaders in big-brain chips for next-generation vehicles, leaving others like NXP and Renesas scrambling to redefine their roles in the EV/ADAS market. 

Evident at the recent Electronica show in Munich was a shift in the balance of power between automotive OEMs and semiconductor suppliers.

Read More »Automakers Accelerate Shift Toward EV, Software Prowess
5G satellite communications

Can Your 5G Handset Talk via Satellites?

By Ron Wilson

What’s at stake?
Major efforts are underway to build low-earth-orbit satellites that act as 5G base stations, communicating directly with conventional 5G handsets. Can this scheme work technically? And if so, can industry and governments sort out the labyrinth of business and regulatory issues it would create?

Imagine that your 5G smartphone would work anywhere—not just in the urban corridors where non-standalone 5G has been deployed today, but in rural villages, in the middle of nowhere, on planes, at sea: around the world. That vision is included within the international wireless standards body 3GPP’s recent Release 16. And it is the subject of accelerating research—and competition—among 5G technology suppliers and satellite communications providers.

Read More »Can Your 5G Handset Talk via Satellites?
Arm vs. Qualcomm

Arm’s Qualcomm Lawsuit Is Just About Money, Right?

By Mike Feibus

What’s at stake?
Arm filed late August a lawsuit against Qualcomm Inc. and Nuvia, Inc. for breach of license agreements and trademark Infringement. But the lawsuit might not be as straightforward as it first appeared. At stake here is a new Arm processor developed by Qualcomm for laptops, which leverages technology innovated by Nuvia, now owned by Qualcomm. So, here’s the billion-dollar question: why is Arm — with the prospect of collecting royalties for each of Qaulcomm’s performance-packed processors — suing to prevent Qualcomm from making the chips?

Read More »Arm’s Qualcomm Lawsuit Is Just About Money, Right?