Sanjay Mehrotra, a former CEO of SanDisk and a co-inventor of NAND flash memory technology, was appointed president and CEO of Micron Technology as of May 8, succeeding the retiring Mark Durcan. "I expect he'll put stronger focus on the Crucial consumer brand," Jim Handy of Objective Analysis said about Mehrotra.
United Microelectronics is preparing intellectual property for its 22-nanometer process, with plans to introduce the process technology in 2018 or 2019, the company told investors. The foundry also reported that it began shipping chips with 14-nanometer features during the first quarter.
Macronix International Chairman Miin Wu said the chip company is working on 3D NAND flash memory technology, with plans to put the devices into volume production in 2018. Macronix is developing the 3D NAND flash for use in solid-state drives, he said.
A French research team reports development of an ultra-compact laser diode that could be integrated with silicon photonic waveguides, while retaining its light-emitting efficiency. "Our demonstration is a crucial and long-awaited element for allowing microelectronics and photonics to converge on a single chip," said Fabrice Raineri, the team leader.
Cypress Semiconductor recorded first-quarter revenue of $531.9 million, its highest quarterly sales in several years, and forecast second-quarter revenue of $530 million to $560 million. Internet of things and NOR memory helped boost results, Cypress President and CEO Hassane El-Khoury told analysts.
The increasing complexity of chip designs demands more automation in the design flow, and in the supporting ecosystem. "The ability to share data between the end customer, the ASIC provider and key members of the supply chain (IP, foundry, packaging) is critical," said Mike Gianfagna of eSilicon.
The proliferation of electronics, due to the rise of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, big data, the internet of things and other applications, is providing a new era of growth and prosperity for the semiconductor industry, this analysis notes. DRAMs, NAND flash memory devices and processors account for a majority of chip sales, providing steady or rising revenue for top players.
The big silicon foundries are fighting for market share in making chips with 28-nanometer features; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Semiconductor Manufacturing International are prospering with their 28nm business, while United Microelectronics is not, Alan Patterson writes.
Worldwide demand for semiconductor-grade silicon wafers is running hot, and GlobalWafers sees a tight supply situation continuing through the end of next year. Pricing on 12-inch wafers is expected to increase by 5% to 10% per quarter, while slackening somewhat in the latter half of this year.
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