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Analogue suppliers join the green movement

Posted: 31 Mar 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:analogue market  analogue suppliers  power management 

Suppliers of analogue products were clearly not exempted from the downturn, with the entire market dropping 2 per cent—from Rs.1.81 lakh crore ($36.5 billion) in 2007 to Rs.1.77 lakh crore ($35.6 billion) in 2008. The majority of the top 10 analogue suppliers witnessed a larger drop than the industry average, as they struggled to maintain supremacy against the numerous smaller manufacturers.

Texas Instruments Inc., even with share dropping from 14.4 per cent in 2007 to 14.1 per cent 2008, exemplified this trend, but remains the clear leader in analogue. The company's closest rival, Europe's STMicroelectronics, actually grew its analogue business 1 per cent from Rs.18,893.29 crore ($3.8 billion) in 2007 to Rs.19,390.48 crore ($3.9 billion) in 2008, thanks largely to the weakening of the dollar and consolidation of the ST and NXP wireless businesses. However, ST's domestic rival, Infineon Technologies AG, did not fare as well with an estimated loss of analogue revenue from 2007 to 2008 at 16 per cent. This is the result of a stormy business environment in 2008 with lower demand for wireless products.

Analog Devices Inc. posted a modest gain of 3 per cent from Rs.10,938.22 crore ($2.2 billion) or 6 per cent of the market in 2007, up to Rs.11,435.41 crore ($2.3 billion) or 6.4 per cent of the market in 2008. By focusing more on core competencies such as amplifiers and data converters, the company outperformed the market by growing analogue revenue by 3 per cent year-over-year. National Semiconductor Corp.'s share fell from 4.7 per cent in 2007 to 4.4 per cent of the market in 2008. This was a decline from Rs.8,452.26 crore ot Rs.7,955.07 crore ($1.7 billion to $1.6 billion) in total sales after a particularly weak Q4 08, which forced the company to cut 26 per cent of its total workforce and quickly regroup strategically to focus on emerging markets such as alternative energy, hybrid vehicles and security electronics.

Targeting niche markets
Like other IC markets, growth for analogue this year is mired by the drop in global demand for electronics in general, and stagnate economic conditions caused by the crippling lack of available credit. This year, analogue companies are clearly moving quickly to adapt to a truly inhospitable environment; and as they do, they are targeting what may seem to be niche markets.

TI, even with share dropping from 14.4 per cent in 2007 to 14.1 per cent 2008, remains the clear leader in analogue. (Click to view full image)

Mobile phones, multimedia players and general trends in portability and wireless drive the analogue market today. But consensus is that in the future, the analogue market will be driven by areas such as energy, transportation, health, and safety—a whole new lineage of applications on the horizon.

The top analogue companies have announced significant activities in all of these areas and are banking on future growth. While some are focused specifically on targeting areas that fit in with currently available expertise, such as with Infineon Technologies focusing on security and energy. Others are pursuing multiple areas and segments within those.

All of the major power management players are targeting the energy market with new products available for conserving power, more efficient power distribution and creating power from renewable sources. Some companies are focusing specifically on energy conservation while others, such as TI, are focusing on all three areas from conserving power to power generation. Clearly, the analogue market is in for another challenging year, but the tide will turn and it appears that for this year, analogue has a new amulet—and it is green.

For more on green technologies, visit Power Design India.

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