SIA Week in Review -- Oct. 24, 2014

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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.


SIA NEWS

Austan Goolsbee to Deliver Keynote Address at Annual SIA Award Dinner
Goolsbee has served as chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and a member of the cabinet, as well as the chief economist for the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.


CHINA

China's 5-Year Plan Revealed
EE Times

"The second thing," according to Fok, "is to promote local semiconductor industry with the goal of building local brand CPUs and applications processors."

China companies to raid talent from Taiwan semiconductor industry
Digitimes

China-based companies reportedly plan to raid talent from Taiwan's semiconductor industry offering monthly pay equal or higher than five-fold that received in Taiwan currently, according to industry sources. The moves launched by China-based semiconductor industry come after China's government set up a CNY120 billion (US$19.6 billion) fund to facilitate the development of China's semiconductor industry, the sources indicated.

Apple CEO says had 'very open' privacy talks in China: Xinhua
Reuters

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook was quoted on Friday as saying he had "very open" talks on privacy and security with a senior Chinese official, days after a web monitoring group linked the government to a hack into Apple's iCloud service in China. Cook's remarks, made in an interview to the official Xinhua news agency, were his first public comments since meeting Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing on Wednesday.


POLICY

Portman calls for tax reform
The Hill

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) called on Congress to pass comprehensive tax reform to boost the economy. “Our onerous and outdated tax code continues to force businesses to leave the U.S., taking American jobs with them,” Portman said Wednesday. “We can and must reform our tax code again so that we keep businesses and jobs here at home and provide relief to all Americans.”

IT upgrades could help improve patent quality, nominated USPTO director says
FedScoop

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is looking at upgrading IT tools and tapping into big data as part of a plan to improve patent quality, the newly nominated agency head said Thursday. During the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s annual meeting, patent office Deputy Director Michelle Lee said she has convened employees from across the agency to discuss ways to improve patent quality. Among the possibilities, she said, is enhancing examiners’ IT tools, particularly by fully deploying its automated Patents End-to-End processing system and expanding international work-sharing IT capabilities.

TPP Countries Mull Trade Secrets Language With Additional Flexibility
Inside US Trade

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators are considering language in the intellectual property (IP) chapter that would go a long way toward meeting a key U.S. industry demand that countries provide criminal penalties for the theft of trade secrets, but in a way that gives countries some flexibility in how they implement those remedies.

Froman Signals Need For TPA To Get Best Offers From Negotiating Partners
Inside US Trade

In advance of an Oct. 25-27 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial meeting, U.S. trade officials this week touted to Congress an article by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in which he signals that U.S. trading partners are unlikely to put their best offers on the negotiating table unless Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is in place.


MEMBER NEWS

AMD slashes A-series desktop APU prices
PC World

AMD recently slashed the suggested prices of its Kaveri A-Series accelerated processing units (APUs) by about 20 percent. The new prices mean a 3.7GHz quad-core AMD A10-7850K will soon cost around $143, down from $179. A slew of other AMD APUs are also receiving price cuts, and AMD will even throw in a free game with some models to sweeten the pot even further (and show off the superior graphics capabilities of its Radeon-packed APUs).

CEG, GlobalFoundries celebrate Fab 8
Albany Times Union

Although CEG originally chose to host the meeting at Fab 8 to celebrate the fifth anniversary since the company broke ground on the $10 billion facility, it just so happened that on Monday, GlobalFoundries announced it was acquiring IBM's computer chip operations in Dutchess County and Vermont in one of the biggest business deals in the region's history.

IBM to pay $1.5B to shed its chip division; earnings miss estimates
AP

Privately held Globalfoundries will get IBM's global commercial semiconductor technology business, including intellectual property and technologies related to IBM Microelectronics. It also gets IBM's semiconductor manufacturing operations and plants in East Fishkill, New York and Essex Junction, Vermont, as well as access to thousands of patents and IBM's commercial microelectronics business.

Fashion goes full circuit with Intel chip, wearable-tech contest
San Francisco Chronicle

But for its foray into wearable tech, the Intel Corp. is steering clear of the catwalk. Instead, the Santa Clara semiconductor company is providing the tech guts — “Intel inside” chips — to help the inspired fashions to work. Intel’s efforts with retailer Opening Ceremony on a smart bracelet, which debuted at New York Fashion Week, and forthcoming venture with Fossil on watches, are two examples. The company is also stretching the boundaries of what wearable tech might be with a global Make It Wearable challenge, whose winner will be announced Nov. 3.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Q&A: New strategies, winning the top job and how to seek a raise
The Oregonian

Intel is getting personal. The world's largest chipmaker is playing catch-up in mobile technology, having arrived late to the market for smartphones and tablets. Since chief executive Brian Krzanich took Intel's top job in 2013 he's remade the company's strategy, focusing on identifying new markets and understanding the consumer.

Qualcomm Acquires CSR To Accelerate Its Growth In IoT
Forbes

CSR, which spun-off from Cambridge Consultant in 1998, is a pioneer in bluetooth technology for machine-to-machine communication. It is growing in areas like automotive and wearable devices. Its chips are used in products such as portable audio speakers and Apple-owned Beats headphones. Qualcomm believes that CSR’s leadership in Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart and audio processing will strengthen its position in providing critical solutions for the Internet-of-Things (IoT) market.

Want to upgrade your PCs to SSD? SanDisk will make a house call
IT World

SanDisk says that through the STAR program, it will relieve IT departments of having to manage all aspects of upgrading corporate laptops, by handling "endpoint inventory analysis, employee service scheduling, system upgrades, data migration, daily progress reporting, post-upgrade analysis and support."

Spansion Expands MCUs With IoT on Its Radar
EE Times

On Monday, October 20, Spansion Inc. unveiled 96 new MCUs, fresh additions to the company's FM4 family of MCUs based on the ARM Cortex-M4 core. The new MCUs, running at 200MHz, offer up to 2MB flash memory, 12 different types of communication interfaces, security, and 5V I/O designed for robust environment applications. Dhiraj Handa, senior vice president and general manager of Spansion's multi-market microcontroller business, told us that a combination of such upgraded features will differentiate Spansion's new MCUs from those of competitors.

TI adds three-phase power capability to Piccolo DSP
Electronics Weekly

Texas instrument’s is aiming at solar inverters, motor controls, and digital power supplies with an upgrade to its Piccolo family of DSP/CPUs.


INDUSTRY NEWS

Wave of mergers shakes automotive semiconductor landscape
EE Times

The tremors brought by the recent mergers and acquisitions are shaking the competitive order of the automotive semiconductor market. According to IHS Technology, the automotive semiconductor sector has been showing growth trends for a number of quarters now, and chip manufacturers are seizing this strategic opportunity to diversify into the market.

Wearable device market to trigger huge growth in semiconductor and sensor
EE Herald

With such a physical closeness to the user of the devices, wearable device is a better option for health and activity monitoring rather than smart phone. So more number of sensors can go into wearable compared to smart phone. With this trend of wearable device preference for health and activity monitoring, IHS estimates the shipments of sensors used in wearable electronic devices to grow by 7x times from 67 million in 2013 to 466 million in 2019.

IGBT and MOSFET to drive power semiconductors market
Ferret

According to the report, the IGBT sector will see the strongest growth within the power semiconductor market, with a forecasted average annual growth of 4.9 percent, going from $3.1 billion in 2012 to $4.0 billion in 2017.


RESEARCH/TECHNOLOGY

Drones Are Taking Pictures That Could Demystify A Malaria Surge
NPR

Aerial drones are targeting a new enemy: malaria. Four hundred feet above a Malaysian forest, a three-foot eBee drone hovers and takes pictures with a 16-megapixel camera every 10 to 20 seconds. But it's not gathering images of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Even today's best drones aren't capable of such a photographic marvel. Rather, the drone is looking at a changing landscape that holds clues to the disease's spread.

Graphene breakthrough hints at smartphone batteries that could last 25 percent longer
ZDNet

Next time you're worried your smartphone's going to let you down in the middle of the day or you'll have to bring with you an array of chargers for a two-day business trip, don't despair — Italian researchers have got your back. At the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), a group of local scientists has just produced a new kind of lithium-ion battery that exceeds current batteries' efficiency by 25 percent. The extra battery life is achieved by exploiting the high electrical conductivity of graphene — used for the battery's anode — at an unprecedented scale.

Comment: GaN could win over SiC for power design
Electronics Weekly

Designers are now looking to use new semiconductor technologies to push product development forward, and gallium nitride (GaN) could be the most important new technology for power supply design. It will not be as simple as replacing traditional silicon ICs with GaN devices to achieve an efficiency gain.

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