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ST: 8bit MCU market is not dead

Posted: 26 Nov 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:8bit MCU market? microcontroller? content software?

At a roundtable during the ARM European Technical Conference, Daniel Colonna, marketing director at STMicroelectronics NV, said the 8bit microcontroller market is not dead and remains interesting to serve.

Regarding the MCU market, Colonna said he identified two issues. He explained: "The first one is the growing software content. Definitely, I think there will be moves in the software industry. We see people like Microsoft, for instance, willing to enter the MCU market. There are a lot of things moving in the 32bit market in terms of software."

The second issue is more on the lower end. "There is also an 8bit market. It is not dead. It is still alive and kicking. There is still an interesting market to serve but there is a very strong price pressure. The main issues are to lead the long-term profitability and the price pressure," he added.

Mixed views
Geoff Lees, general manager of the MCU product line at NXP, offered an opposite view. He indeed declared: "We are seeing the end of the 8bit. There will be one or two winners but many losers."

Speaking in the name of ST, Colonna immediately replied: "Well, obviously, we disagree. We have a different interpretation of the market data. We still believe there is a market for 8bit MCUs. We are not that pessimistic for the 8bit unit growth. We need to make the right choice in terms of silicon and design technologies. We know, at ST, how to address this."

He added: "The 8bit market will drop in price. We see certainly the 32bit cannibalizing the 16bit market and this will happen fast."

Commenting on the subject, Jacko Wilbrink, MCU director at Atmel, declared: "The 32bit market has been created fairly recently. This is probably why it is growing. I expect we create more possibilities for 32bit than it was the case for 8bit."

The global 32bit MCU market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.5 percent on a unit basis through 2011, according to Semico Research. The CAGR in sales is set to reach 17.8 percent for the same period.

Currently, the 32bit MCU market is dominated by proprietary 32bit MCU suppliers such as Renesas, with a 27.7-percent market share, NEC, with a 22.9-percent market share, and Freescale, with a 17.3-percent market share.

- Anne-Francoise Pele
EE Times Europe

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