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Girding for War, Taiwan Must Also Invest In Its Economic Future

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake:
As Taiwan braces for a possible takeover by China, it must simultaneously ensure it can build upon decades of economic gains in semiconductors and services.

Taiwan is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. It is preparing for two mutually exclusive futures, one of which is the preferred option and the other a fearful possibility it is hoping allies can help it fend off. The island could preserve its democratic, peaceful and prosperous existence or slide into the tortuous unknown of a military confrontation with China over Beijing’s demand for reunification with the mainland.

Read More »Girding for War, Taiwan Must Also Invest In Its Economic Future
Apple CEO Tim Cook at the opening ceremony of TSMC's Arizona fabs. (Source: Apple)

The Tangled Triangle of Biden, Apple and TSMC

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
TSMC’s Arizona fabs are often portrayed as a necessity to help TSMC achieve much-needed global diversity in manufacturing. Meanwhile, Apple plays patriot by investing in “a stronger, brighter future” for America. To accept that picture as a reality is naïve. The real issue is what price the U.S. government will pay to curry favor with Tim Cook and Morris Chang during a must-win economic war with China.

The opening ceremony of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC)’s first Arizona fab in December was, by any industry’s standard, an epoch-making event.

Read More »The Tangled Triangle of Biden, Apple and TSMC
graceful exit from TI

Time for Templeton of TI to Make a Graceful Exit

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake:
By staying on as board chairman at Texas Instruments after stepping aside for a new CEO, Rich Templeton will still be involved in decision making. His continued presence could prove difficult for TI in the long term.

Texas Instruments Inc.’s decision in 2018 asking Richard Templeton to reassume the titles of president and CEO scrubbed plans for his gradual separation from the analog IC and embedded processor supplier. With the appointment of a new CEO, Templeton and TI’s board should seize the opportunity to cut that cord immediately and permanently, for the sake of everyone involved.

Read More »Time for Templeton of TI to Make a Graceful Exit
Taiwan Strait and TSMC

What’s Plan B if TSMC is Shut Down?

By Ron Wilson

What’s at stake:
If the political confrontation over Taiwan collapses into military confrontation, major U.S. companies would lose access to the advanced chip processes upon which their leading products and their roadmaps depend. There are workarounds, but they are not easy, quick, or cheap.

What if it all goes wrong across the Taiwan Strait? Growing antagonism with the U.S., increasing political and economic pressure inside the People’s Republic of China, simple accident—there is a significant, if unpleasant, chance that combat could occur in Taiwan. And given the parties involved and their interests, Taiwan’s industry and infrastructure would certainly be casualties.

Read More »What’s Plan B if TSMC is Shut Down?
Faulty economic forecast.

$1 Trillion Chip Market By 2030? Think Again

By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake:
Semiconductor suppliers are basing their capital expenditure plans on forecasts that often miss targets by tens of billions of dollars. Only months after rolling out massive fab construction plans to serve what they believe would be a $1 trillion market by 2030, chipmakers are resorting to capex cuts that will impact future supplies.

Looking to grab a share of a projected $1 trillion in sales by 2030, semiconductor vendors and foundries have gone on an extraordinary capital expenditure spree just as the sector appears headed for another downturn. Those countervailing market forces are raising questions about the wisdom of expansive fab construction plans.

Read More »$1 Trillion Chip Market By 2030? Think Again
Apple Watches

Apple’s MicroLED Gambit: Up, Up and Away or ‘Crash and Burn’?

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
A smartphone behemoth like Apple might seek to develop its own unique display technology, thereby allowing it to expand and control its own supply chain. Apple has grasped a first-mover advantage on an emerging display technology called microLED. Apple may even be committed to manufacturing and assembling its own displays — at least initially. That’s a big step. Is it a bold move or overreach?

Apple has much riding on its decade-old pursuit of microLEDs, a display technology in which microscopic LEDs form individual pixel elements. Along with resolution, micro-LEDs offer also offer power savings critical to mobile devices.

 If successful, Apple will have a one-of-a-kind display technology, a new supply chain and a fresh ecosystem stretching across the globe.

Read More »Apple’s MicroLED Gambit: Up, Up and Away or ‘Crash and Burn’?

OEMs, Tier Ones, Chip Vendors Scramble for ADAS Edge

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
As vehicles grow more connected and automated, a wave of new chip companies are setting up shop within the automotive sector. But with greater emphasis on vehicles with driver-assist features, the demand for cutting-edge automotive SoC designs, as well as chip vendors’ relationships with the automotive supply chain, is rapidly changing.

The auto industry’s hard shift to ADAS has forced automotive chip suppliers to follow suit, altering their marketing pitches for computing-intensive central processors in vehicles. The annual derby over on “Tera-Operations Per Second (TOPS)” for vehicle CPUs/GPUs was no longer evident this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The focus has shifted to scalability in CPU/domain controllers.

Read More »OEMs, Tier Ones, Chip Vendors Scramble for ADAS Edge
Ag technology

Feeding a Hungry World With Precision Farming

By George Leopold

What’s at stake:
The amount of arable land on the earth is shrinking — and food insecurity is growing — as the number of humans the planet must support approaches 10 billion. Proponents of precision agriculture say the technology can reduce world hunger by producing more food, fiber and fuel using fewer resources.

The digitization of agriculture has advanced beyond GPS-guided tractors to the precise planting of seeds and application of fertilizers and herbicides — precision sufficient to pinpoint a single plant or weed in a thousand-acre field.

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BMW Concept Car Dee's Head-Up Display

Optimzing HUD for My Buddy, the Car

By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Carmakers are pitching more automated features consumers as “driver assist.” With many active safety functions, cars aren’t actaully assisting drivers. Rather, they are making decisions and acting autonomously. How, then, can humans read a vehicle’s intentions? Are head-up displays the best human-machine interface?

The BMW Group’s keynote during last week’s CES 2023 included a talking car used to demonstrate how the vehicle can change its paint job—coated with E Ink—with up to 32 different colors matching a driver’s emotional state.

Read More »Optimzing HUD for My Buddy, the Car