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PDF Solutions acquisitions add yield management tools

Posted: 23 Jun 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PDF Solutions? IDS Software Systems? yield management software?

Seeking to expand its services model into tools, yield improvement company PDF Solutions announced two strategic purchases. PDF signed an agreement to acquire IDS Software Systems, a provider of yield management software, and purchased the WAMA yield technology from WaferYield Inc.

The privately-held IDS Software Systems was purchased for roughly $50 million in cash and stock. The amount of the all-cash WAMA transaction was not announced.

John Kibarian, CEO of PDF Solutions, said the two acquisitions are complimentary and will strengthen PDF's yield improvement, combined tools and services engagements with foundries. Most significantly, it will give the company tools it can now sell to manufacturing sector in a more traditional manner.

Up until now, PDF Solutions' sales engagements with customers included an upfront engagement fee plus a "gain share" (essentially a royalty) based on yield improvements. The problems PDF Solutions addresses are, however, difficult; thus it takes time to for the company to reap those yield gain share revenues. The new tools should help provide a more stable renewable revenue stream for PDF.

In purchasing IDS Software Systems, PDF gains 40 employees and the IDS dataPOWER yield management system (YMS) software, which aims to allow fabrication managers to efficiently track progress and quickly identify areas in their fabrication process that need improvement.

Kibarian said the dataPOWER software sits on top of business enterprise database software and serves as a central repository for fabrication and test data, giving fabrication managers a broad range of data charts and tables, allowing them to create reports for dissecting the yield and production of every step in their fabrication facilities.

"We are trying to create a YMS standard and have every company in the industry use the same database," said Kibarian. "This will allow the industry to have one common format, and it will help us better help them in our services engagements."

Kibarian said that IDS currently has over 1,000 installed seats in over 30 companies, but PDF and IDS only overlap in "couple of customer sites." As such, PDF hopes to also sell more of its traditional yield optimization services to the IDS customer base.

The WAMA technology, said Kibarian, will also help PDF better help its customers. In purchasing WAMA technology, PDF picks up 4 employees and a set of tools targeted at helping photo setup engineers figure out the optimal, most cost effective layout for their chips on a given wafer.

The combined suite, in short, ensures the quickest and most efficient way for steppers to implement the largest amount of good chips on wafer. It thus reduces the amount of time wafers have to be on a fab line, and in doing so cuts down costs, said Kibarian.

The suite includes a tool called WAMA Die for maximizing gross die per wafer, WAMA Max for maximizing the number of good die per wafer, WAMA Productivity for optimizing stepper throughput, WAMA Test for reducing tester time, and WAMA ROI for optimizing overall fab profitability.

Kibarian said PDF will continue to support both WAMA and dataPOWER's current customers.

- Michael Santarini

EE Times

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