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ISSI-Cypress deal: Yes or no?

Posted: 15 Jun 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:antitrust  merger  acquisition 

One of the chief antitrust concerns ISSI had with the Cypress transaction was that it would mean the combined entity would exceed 70 per cent of market share in Germany and be the sole supplier of SRAM to German automotive manufacturers.

While discussing its latest 4Mbit asynchronous SRAM with on-chip error-correcting code (ECC) with EE Times in April, Cypress did acknowledge that the overall SRAM market has been shrinking, but that the company had seen growing demand for automotive applications and the Internet of Things (IoT), such as wearables. Furthermore, Cypress sees the requirements of wearable electronics driving the resurgence of SRAMs, since size and power are critical factors.

Jim Handy, principal analyst with Objective Analysis, didn't completely agree that IoT would necessarily become a large boon to the SRAM market, as low-power SRAM has been losing ground to DRAM, and overall, the SRAM market is being chipped away at all sides by cheaper alternatives. He said Cypress is relatively unique in that it has a broad product range, while most SRAM companies focus on specific product niches.

Networking is one area where SRAM continues to excel as Internet traffic continues to grow exponentially and network infrastructures must continue to upgrade in order to handle moving and storing more data. The 100Gbit to 400Gbit linecards found in next-generation switches and routers are hungry for memory that can support the random transaction rates found in network traffic today. Other applications for SRAM include military hardware and medical devices. But compared to the DRAM segment, SRAM is much smaller, and the market has become more specialised.

There is still innovation to be had in the SRAM segment. Earlier this year, Intel described carving SRAMs at 14nm. The 0.0500µm2 SRAM bitcell is capable of storing 14.5Mbit per mm2 and is part of a memory array that will be widely used in Intel's future SoCs, such as cellular modems that use hundreds of Mbits on a die.

- Gary Hilson
  EE Times U.S.

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