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2010 fearless semiconductor forecasts

Posted: 06 Jan 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IC forecast  semiconductor  foundry  NAND flash  microcontroller 

11. x86 wars
On the processor front, I concur with one prediction made by analyst Doug Freedman of Broadpoint AmTech: Nvidia Corp. will enter the x86-based processor market. I myself see Nvidia entering the x86-based netbook processor market, not the mainstream processor fray. Nvidia already has an ARM-based solution, so why not an x86-based device? It's a big gamble, however. Many have tried and failed to compete against Intel.

12. Advanced Middle East Devices rolls
It will be another tough year for Advanced Micro Devices Inc. I see more investments made by the Abu Dhabi government, giving the Middle East entity control over the processor maker.

13. Legal bill blues
Intel will lose the Federal Trade Commission suit. Other suits will follow against the chip giant. It's a moot point. The chip giant will continue to own 90 per cent of processor market. Intel will also gain control of the netbook processor market, prompting suits from ARM Holding plc.

14. National Semi goes national
Now that Brian Halla is no longer in charge at National Semiconductor Corp., I get the feeling that the analogue house is a takeover target. I see Texas Instruments Inc. making a bid. TI would also like to acquire Atmel Corp. in an effort to expand its microcontroller efforts.

15. Let's Free Scale!
This has to be the year Freescale Semiconductor Inc. is acquired. Freescale's losses cannot continue. I see Infineon Technologies AG buying all or part of Freescale.

16. NXP sells itself this time
What will happen to poor NXP Inc.? The company continues to sell off divisions. I see STMicroelectronics gobbling up NXP itself.

17. MCU mess
2010 will be a tough year for the merger of Renesas Technology Corp. and NEC Electronics Inc. The companies are set to merge soon, but there is a lot of work to do. Look for mass layoffs and plant shutdowns.

18. More 450mm delays
More delays for 450mm. Intel, Samsung and TSMC are pushing for 450mm prototype fabs by 2012. Fab tool vendors are not biting. So, the new target date for 450mm prototype fabs is 2015.

19. EUV stays in the shadows
There is good and bad news for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Samsung will put EUV into R&D for DRAM prototyping in 2010. Intel will move into EUV R&D. IMEC and Sematech will get new pre-production EUV machines from ASML this year. But the new, full-blown production tools are now pushed out to 2018.

20. Immersion is not wet
193nm immersion sees a new breakthrough. A new resist from JSR Corp. enables 193nm to extend to 22nm with fewer double-patterning steps. 16nm is feasible. EUV gets pushed out again.

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