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Fujitsu buy: 'A bolt from the blue' says Spansion exec

Posted: 27 Nov 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Spansion  Fujitsu  embedded MCU  analog business  NAND flash 

Fuse, however, believes the biggest and the most tangible technology advances will come from the adoption of Spansion's proprietary eCT technology in embedded MCUs. "Expect us to release the new product in 2015," he said.

NOR flash is central to embedded applications, due to its speed compared to block-mode NAND flash. Spansion's latest NOR technology, embedded Charge Trap (eCT), is particularly attractive to embedded MCUs, because it is modified and optimized for integration with logic. "The technology enables the memory cells to scale very well with the advancements in logic design," he noted.

Fuse acknowledged that Fujitsu Semiconductor was looking at Spansion's eCT as a technology candidate for future embedded MCUs even before the company's MCU division was acquired by Spansion.

Many logic-design companies thus far have not been able to efficiently scale embedded memory, resulting in non-volatile memory occupying a large portion of the overall die in embedded MCUs. That has led to a sub-optimal logic process and larger, more costly die sizes. Fuse now believes Spansion's eCT technology will become a secret weapon for Spansion's embedded MCU, by restoring the balance between logic and Flash.

Spansion, which recently reported $275 million net sales in 3Q13, earned about $170 million to $175 million from its NOR business, $10 million from licensing and the rest from the MCU/analog business, said Randy Furr, Spansion's chief financial officer, during the company's latest earning's call.

These figures only include two months of Fujitsu business, however.

Had they assumed three months' worth of Fujitsu business, "those numbers would have been in the $130 million to $135 million range," Furr added.

Spansion's revenue by business

As for Spansion's end markets, the company now has a stronger presence in automotive (from the MCUs used by Japanese carmakers). The company also expects to grow in the industrial market, with high hopes for the Internet of Things.

Spansion's revenue by end market

This image presents percentage of revenue as if the acquisition had occurred at the beginning of Q2, instead of August 1. (Source: Spansion).

Spansion believes that it now has the upper hand in the industrial market, as it arms itself with high-density embedded flash integrated with multiple ARM cores. The company is also hopeful that its dedicated analog and logic blocks will enable connected SoC solutions for industrial, energy harvesting and medical applications as well.

For them, the acquisition deal is a reminder that their "value chain" is not limited to Japan, and that they can now work under business management who can execute "global and speedy decision-making," Fuse explained.

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