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Freescale-NXP sees potential in secure IoT MCUs

Posted: 26 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Freescale Semiconductor? NXP? IoT? MCU? automotive?

The merger of Freescale Semiconductor and NXP hinges on the huge promise of connecting and securing the Internet of Things, with a major focus on automotive. The CEOs of the two companies defined their collective vision for the merger, which will likely close in November.

The merger will create the fifth-largest non-memory semiconductor company, NXP CEO Rick Clemmer stated. The goal isn't to generate massive cost savings, but to provide more well-rounded options for IoT customers.

Leading semiconductor companies such as Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom/Avago and Texas Instruments all have narrowly focused strategies that focus on MCUs, communications and analogue. This leaves a prime area for the new NXP to focus on.

"No companies are focused on creating secure connections and infrastructure for a smarter world," Freescale CEO Gregg Lowe said. "Clearly if we do that successfully, and we can do that very rapidly, we can move up in succession."

Clemmer will be the new company's CEO and made clear that NXP-Freescale wants to be 50 per cent more successful than the No. 2 company developing MCUs for IoT. The NXP CEO hopes to combine its security expertise and success in automotive infotainment with Freescale's broad MCU portfolio to create a range of chips for connected devices, 70 per cent of which don't have any form of security, Lowe noted.

Freescale recently announced several families of MCUs, S32K MCUs for automotive, the security-focused Kinetis K8x and comms-enabled Kinetis K4X, though it remains the company's most fragmented business segment. NXP also has a MCU business based on ARM cores, and the merger will likely see an inclusion of both companies' chips.

"To me that's the most beautiful thing, the unbelievable portfolio of low power dissipation MCUs that have performance, security, identification. This is something no one else has and probably something we couldn't get on our own," Lowe said.

Clemmer described NXP's success in digital signal processing and silicon tuning for car radios, noting that its technology must still port over to a processor to support automated driver assistance system (ADAS). Combining its infotainment offerings with Freescale's i.MX processor would allow the chip giant to "deliver the whole car in one box."

"This company is going to have everything," said Jim McGregor, principal analyst with Tirias Research. "These companies know more about security just because of the applications they've been in, financial markets, networking, some very high security stuff."

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