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Fearless IC forecasts for 2010

Posted: 06 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IC forecast? foundry? NAND flash? microcontroller? solar?

21. New packaging teams
A new wave of consolidation hits the IC-packaging and test world. Taiwan's Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) buys Asat Holdings and ChipMOS. Singapore's STATS ChipPac buys Unisem Berhad of Malaysia. Perhaps the biggest news is that Amkor Technology Inc. and Siliconware will form a joint venture to take on ASE.

22. Solar or bust
MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. spins out its silicon wafer unit into new and independent company. MEMC decides to focus on solar.

23. New lows for high-k
IBM's Corp. "fab club" delays high-k. Intel has a huge lead in high-k for gate stacks. IBM and AMD were looking at the 32nm node for high-k. Now, it's delayed to the 28- and 22nm nodes.

24. Fab tool consolidation frenzy
Every year, I try to predict the mergers in the fab tool sector. I will try again here. Every year, we predict Novellus Systems Inc. and Lam Research Corp. will merge. Every year, we're wrong. I'm not betting on that one for 2010.

Applied Materials Inc. will continue to go on a buying spree. Look for Applied to buy more solar gear firms. Amtech comes to mind. Another wild prediction: Applied will make another hostile bid to buy ASM International BV.

Another possibility: ASMI's shareholders will once again force the company to break up the company. This time around, shareholders succeed. As a result, ASMI's front- and back-end entities will become two separate companies.

Once upon a time, I predicted that ASML Holding NV would enter the nanoimprint market. I see them buying Obducat AB. ASML may also make a play for Micronic Laser Systems Inc., a struggling supplier of pattern generation equipment.

KLA-Tencor Corp. will continue to buy companies. I see the company making a play for Nanometrics Inc. In 2010, LTX-Credence will look for a buyer. All along, I've said that Verigy Inc. looks like the best suitor for the ATE company.

Other predictions: Canon Inc. will exit the high-end lithography market in 2010.

FSI International goes on the block. The bidders: Applied and Tokyo Electron Ltd. TEL will make a bid for Mattson.

25. CEOs on hot seat
In 2010, I see a lot of CEOs on the hot seat, based on the performances of their companies in recent times. These CEOs won't necessarily lose their jobs, but they face an inordinate amount of challenges. Their performances will be watched like a hawk. Here's my list:

  • Steve Appleton, Micron's chairman and CEO. A make or break year?
  • Yasushi Akao, president of Renesas. He will become president of the combined Renesas-NEC Electronics entity, which faces some nightmarish integration issues.
  • Peter Bauer, Infineon's member of the management board and CEO. Can company recover from DRAM snafu?
  • Rich Beyer, Freescale's chairman and CEO. Has the company run out of time?
  • Robert Bruggeworth, president and CEO of RF Micro. Can company recover from downturn?
  • Geesung Choi, Samsung Electronics' president and CEO. Looking over shoulder? (Jay Y. Lee is being groomed for the post. Lee is the only son of Lee Kun Hee, the former Samsung chairman.)
  • Richard Clemmer, NXP's president and CEO. What's next?
  • David Dutton, Mattson's president and CEO. Tough times for fab tool firm.
  • Chuck del Prado, ASMI's president and CEO. Changes in the wind?
  • Anthony Holbrook, MIPS' interim president and CEO. Who will step in tough spot?
  • Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia's president and CEO. Has magic touch run out?
  • J.K. Kim, Hynix' president and CEO. Who will buy Korean company?
  • John Kispert, Spansion's CEO. Can company emerge from Chapter 11?
  • Steven Laub, Atmel's president and CEO. Is restructuring over?
  • Dirk Meyer, AMD's president and CEO. Can the losses continue?
  • Haruo Matsuno, Advantest's CEO. ATE giant losing ground.
  • Paul Otellini, Intel's president and CEO. Intel continues to dominate, but not on the legal front.
  • Mary Puma, Axcelis' president and CEO. Tough times for ion implanter supplier.
  • Yukio Sakamoto, president and CEO of Elpida. Can he keep the ship afloat?
  • Shih-Wei Sun, United Microelectronics Corp.'s CEO. UMC is in danger of falling behind.
  • David N.K. Wang, SMIC's president and CEO. Can he turn the losing tide?

    - Mark LaPedus
    EE Times

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