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Maxim undergoes a makeover

Posted: 04 Oct 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analog chip? audio amplifier? MEMS oscillator?

Beyond its industrial roots

In any case, Maxim is considered among the ��big five�� in analog. In the analog rankings, TI was in first place in terms of sales in 2009, with $2.436 billion in revenues, followed in order by ADI ($1.69 billion), National ($1.098 billion); Maxim ($1.037 billion) and Linear ($894 million), according to Databeans.

The company was co-founded in 1983 by legendary chip executive John (Jack) Gifford. (In 2009, Gifford died from an apparent heart attack.) Shortly after its inception, Maxim entered into its first growth phase, focusing mainly on the exploding industrial analog market. The company went public in 1988.

In 2000, the company started what it considers as its second phase of growth. In 2001, it acquired Dallas Semiconductor. Maxim also ''expanded its focus�� by moving into new markets, Doluca said.

The company�s efforts were somewhat sidetracked in the mid-2000s. In late 2006, with the company mired in a probe of historical stock option grants, Maxim announced that Gifford retired on the advice of his doctor due to health concerns.

Gifford served as the company's CEO until his retirement in 2007. At that time, Doluca became president and CEO. Doluca joined Maxim in 1984 as a member of technical staff.

With Doluca at the helm, Maxim accelerated its strategy. Some time ago, the company expanded into the communications, computing and consumer fronts. Within those areas, it focuses on seven markets: mobility, consumer, energy, security, high definition video, automotive and health.

Today, the company sells 6,400 chips in 28 different product areas. As of June 26, it employed approximately 9,200 people, according to a filing.

Maxim has moved beyond its industrial roots. ''They are a powerhouse in analog and mixed-signal chips, and have a good reputation in converters and power management chips,�� said Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts Co.

That�s only part of the story. Observers believe Maxim was more of a reticent, autocratic organization in the past. After being named to the top post at Maxim, Doluca had different ideas. ''I wanted to change the culture,�� he said. Company management has become ''more accountable�� and ��more responsible.��

In a presentation, the CEO also listed several recent milestones in its ongoing makeover: 1) patent applications shot up 50 percent in two years; 2) product development times were shortened 20 percent in two years; 3) a 180-nm BCD process was developed in record time; 4) a 300-mm sourcing capability was added; 5) it completed six acquisitions in three years; and 6) it aligned R&D teams with end-markets.

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