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Intersil ramps up power-focused design centres

Posted: 20 Mar 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intersil? design centre? power management? analog?

Intersil has announced that it is ramping up its design centres in the UK and US as it closes down most of its analog products to concentrate on power management. Twelve months after joining from Silicon Labs, the company's latest president and CEO Necip Sayiner has significantly changed the company focus.

"What we found when we came in was capable people and some great fundamental IP but they were trying to do too many things they didn't have the resources to drive leadership, develop new products and translate that into market share," said Mark Downing, SVP of strategy at Intersil. "So we are focusing on our core strengths around power management."

Power is 60 per cent of the business today and that will rise to 80 per cent over the next three years, said Downing. Most of the analog product lines will be discontinued, leaving the high reliability, space and automotive products.

Necip Sayiner

"As part of that change we are building up the design centres, looking to build up the ones we've got, adding people in the UK, New Jersey and Austin, Texas," he said. The UK design centre in Harlow employs 35 designers working on screen power control, which is part of the new strategy.

"I think the problem is that the analog products may be reasonable businesses but they all needed investment and what we found was the businesses were struggling to get real traction. The company needed to focus back on its core competence so those businesses were deemphasized or closed down completely," said Downing.

"With the focus on power management we can get growth resuming next year, primarily based on investment decision we made last year. Precision analog will still be an investment area, but modest as there are areas in that that are essentially power, in automotive and space. It's like everything we will do is power today its 60 per cent and that will grow to 80 per cent. On the speciality analog side, there's optical sensors and drivers, previously driven by Blu Ray, now by gaming applications such as Microsoft Kinect and in the future could be heads up displays in automotive. But this is a cash cow that we will use to fund the other three businesses."

Instead the focus is on $6 billion market for power management in mobile handsets, where competitors such as Fairchild Semiconductor, Dialog Semiconductor and Maxim have already made strategic moves, and on power control in infrastructure designs.

If you think about the smartphone today the functionality and the compute power will continue to advance and as it does the current levels are going up, he said. Today there are multiphase converters that will be used more broadly and the challenges are only going to get bigger. This is the strong heritage that Intersil has, so we will apply that technology and learning into the mobile space. If you compare that to Fairchild they don't have expertise in that area, while Dialog and Maxim are learning this.

"In mobile there's a couple of interesting things that play to our strengths," he said. "We have interesting IP in the buck boost converters that are world beating in the efficiency they provide as well as the transient performance. It's an IP that we acknowledge other people will emulate and will get to the same level of performance but it generates nice business right now."

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