The SIA Week in Review is a compilation of some of the week's top news clips related to the semiconductor industry. SIA distributes this email on Fridays. Information about subscribing/unsubscribing is included at the bottom of this e-mail.
Global Semiconductor Industry Urges Governments to Prevent Restrictions on Encryption Technology
By Devi Keller, Deputy Director, Global Policy
This week, semiconductor industry representatives from around the world will meet in Fukuoka, Japan to deliver recommendations to global governments on a range of trade issues at the 15th annual Governments/Authorities Meeting on Semiconductors (GAMS) … One of the top priorities for industry leaders at this year’s meeting is to urge government representatives to prevent restrictions on the import, use or sale of commercial products containing encryption. Such restrictions threaten to severely undercut global trade of semiconductors and other information communication technology (ICT) products.
FBI Warns Tech Companies of State-Sponsored China Hackers
Hackers affiliated with the Chinese government have heavily targeted makers of microchips, computer networking equipment and data storage services to steal company secrets, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. The FBI sent a warning to companies yesterday, telling them that “these state-sponsored hackers are exceedingly stealthy and agile” and have used customized malicious code that was undetected by security researchers and law enforcement.
Changsha City Economic Development Zone Allocates 100 Million Yuan Annually to Boost IC Industry
Sina (translated summary below)
Changsha City Economic Development Zone released <Measures to Promote IC Industry Development> on Oct 15th, announcing that the zone financial department will allocate 100 million yuan each year to boost IC industry from 2015. Specific measures include: 1 million yuan one-time award to global top 10 IC companies establishing R&D institute or headquarter in the zone; 0.5 million yuan one-time award to global top 50 IC companies establishing R&D institute or headquarter in the zone; 10% financial support for M&As; 2 million yuan one-time award for company going public, etc.
China National IC Industry Investment Fund Established Officially
MIIT (translated summary below)
Guided by MIIT and Ministry of Finance, China Development Bank Capital Co., Ltd., China National Tobacco Corporation, Beijing E-town International Investment and Development Co., Ltd., China Mobile Corporation, Shanghai Guosheng Group Co., Ltd., China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, Beijing Unigroup Communications Technology Group, and Huaxin Investment Management Cp., Ltd. signed <National IC Industry Investment Fund Joint Stock Limited Company Sponsors Agreement> and <National IC Industry Investment Fund Joint Stock Limited Company Charter> on Sep 24th and announced to media on Beijing time Oct 14th. The Fund takes the form of Joint Corporation and the above sponsor companies will attract large enterprises, financial institutions and social capital to invest and establish National IC Industry Investment Fund Joint Stock Limited Company, which will focus on IC manufacturing, and consider IC design, packaging and testing and equipment meanwhile, to enhance productivity levels, boost M&As, and improve corporate governance.
The Force Disrupting Samsung and Other Tech Giants
However, over the last two quarters, Samsung’s profits have declined substantially, with its executives recently warning that profits could be off as much as 60% in the most recent quarter. So in such a short time, how did a tech giant go from the top of the mountain to a place where it’s looking like the next BlackBerry? This came about because of the Shenzhen ecosystem effect. Shenzhen is a large town about 30 miles north of Hong Kong and an important part of the China manufacturing area. What makes this area interesting is that it has emerged as a kind of technology parts depot that provides off-the-shelf components that can be used to create everything from smartphones, tablets, PCs or any other type of tech device, which can then be sold as no-name — or what we call white-box — products.
What happens to tech policy if Republicans take the Senate?
A Republican majority, say many observers, could mean near-instant movement on legislation aimed at so-called patent trolls who hold patents solely so they can sue potential infringers. Going after patent trolls is wildly popular on Capitol Hill; the House passed a troll-targeting bill by 325 to 91. But a Senate version of the bill was killed in late May, after Senate Majority Leader Reid Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to bring it up for a vote.
Obama taps former Google executive for chief of patent office
President Obama on Thursday nominated Michelle Lee to lead the Patent and Trademark Office, seeking to fill a seat that has been empty for more than a year. Lee, a former Google executive, had been the deputy director of the PTO since January.
Treasury's New Anti-Inversion Rules Leave Room for Legislation, CRS Says
New Treasury Department rules aimed at discouraging corporate mergers called inversions have constraints, according to a Congressional Research Service report. As a result, legislative options remain a possibility, said the report, which discussed a number of bills to address inversions as well as the recently issued regulatory changes and other potential regulations.
Silicon Valley company pushes online forms to prevent immigration ‘backlog’
A Silicon Valley company has been meeting with Obama administration officials about making immigration forms easier to fill out with a new online system that would resemble TurboTax. Executives with FileRight, based in San Francisco, have made several trips to Washington since hiring lobbyists in January, scoring meetings with the White House, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and congressional offices in both parties, including House Republican leadership.
IBM and SAP: A Cloud Pact That Solves Problems and Holds Promise
The partnership covers SAP’s cloud offering tuned for high-speed data analysis, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. SAP announced its cloud offering last year, but declined to say how many customers it has. But companies increasingly want the option of a cloud version of the software maker’s bread-and-butter suite of business applications for the automated management of operations.
How IBM’s Watson could be good for your health
But the potential for Watson extends beyond the examination room. That’s because an increasing number of startups are counting on Watson to explore large piles of information to provide useful health suggestions in applications consumers can use on their own. Altogether, in adding big-data firepower to doctors and standalone apps, Watson could lead to the improvement of people’s health. And that’s cool.
Intel inside...Best Buy: Chipmaker debuts retail showcase in Oregon; CEO Brian Krzanich visits Saturday
Intel plans to demonstrate some of those new concepts during the holiday seasons at showcases inside Best Buy stores at 50 locations around the country. The first of them opened this week at the Best Buy at 9630 SE 82nd Ave. north of Clackamas Town Center, where Intel hopes to give shoppers hands-on interaction with new technologies.
Intel preps new technology to secure credit card transactions
Swiping credit cards or using payment systems like Apple Pay at stores could become much safer thanks to a new Intel system, which could also make it easier for retailers to secure data after transactions are completed. With security breaches and customer data theft on the rise, Intel has developed Data Protection Technology for Transactions, a hardware-software bundle designed to protect credit card and personal data from hackers when transactions are being authorized.
Qualcomm to Buy U.K. Chipmaker CSR in $2.5 Billion Deal
Qualcomm has been building up its business for the so-called Internet of things and the CSR acquisition is a sign that the semiconductor industry is becoming more focused on making chips for devices such as connected cars and thermostats that can be controlled from a mobile phone, Lee Simpson, an analyst for Jefferies, said in a note today.
Lunch with SanDisk CEO celebrates MIT high-school programs, undergraduate scholarships
Leaders from the SanDisk Corporation joined MIT students and staff on Sept. 19 at the Boston Marriott Cambridge for a lunch that acknowledged undergraduates who have benefitted from SanDisk-supported high-school programs and undergraduate scholarships. “MIT is a special place for SanDisk,” said SanDisk CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, who praised the Institute’s research, international programs, and focus on interdisciplinary education. “MIT is among the very best when it comes to the technology and engineering engagement that it provides to students.”
Samsung leads renewed spend in semiconductor market
Worldwide capital spending on semiconductors is predicted to grow by 11.4 percent to $64.5bn this year from $57.8bn in 2013, according to analyst firm Gartner. Furthermore, capital spending on equipment is expected to increase by 17.8 percent in 2014, driven by memory prices holding firm and increasing demand for consumer products.
The View From the Valley
Are we in a tech bubble? Is Snowden a hero? And what’s the hottest status symbol? In The Atlantic’s first Silicon Valley Insiders Poll, a panel of 50 executives, innovators, and thinkers answer these questions and more.
Memory Directions Uncertain
Semiconductor Engineering sat down with a panel of experts to find out what is happening in world of memories. Taking part in the discussion are Charlie Cheng , chief executive officer at Kilopass Technology ; Navraj Nandra, senior director of marketing for Analog/Mixed signal IP, embedded memories and logic libraries at Synopsys ; Scott Jacobson, business development within sales and marketing at Cadence ; and Frank Ferro, senior director for product development in the interfaces and memory division of Rambus . What follows are excerpts of that conversation.
Are We At an Inflection Point with Silicon Scaling and Homogeneous ICs?
Solid State Technology
Changing to another solution requires persistence, energy and small successes to gain inertia for Moore’s Law 2.0. Packaging becomes the focus on Moore’s Law 2.0: 2.5D and 3D allow the mixing and matching of many building blocks into miniaturized systems. Blocks already designed, proven with known histories, costs and suppliers: significantly reducing risks and development costs.
The Blue LED Has Many Parents
It was Akasaki who picked up work on gallium nitride, the material used to make the blue LEDs, after RCA abandoned its efforts in the early 1970s. At the time, the basics of semiconductor processing still had to be sorted out. It wasn’t clear how to grow large, clean crystals or how to “dope” the material so that it could be made into a p-type semiconductor, a semiconductor with an excess of holes. That’s what was needed in order to create the “p” in the p-n junction light-emitting diode, a better approach to making bright light than the metal insulator semiconductor devices made at RCA.
Overcoming particle contamination in the manufacture of semiconductors
The manufacturer of semiconductors and microchips used in printed circuit boards (PCBs) requires an ultra-clean production environment, such as an inline vacuum deposition process. Consumer products, from televisions to mobile phones, handheld game consoles, tablets and personal computers, all contain sensitive electronics which are manufactured in this way. However, the process of production, even in a vacuum, often lends itself to the creation of tiny particles of dirt which can reduce production quality and the operational life of the end product.
Nanotube-based Li-ion Batteries Can Charge to Near Maximum in Two Minutes
Researchers at the Nanyang Technology University (NTU) in Singapore have achieved at least some of those criteria by developing a Li-ion battery capable of 20 years of deep discharges, more than 10 times that of existing Li-ion batteries. In addition to longer battery life, the new battery design can be charged up quickly so that it can reach 70 percent of its maximum charge in just two minutes.