Articles about Semiconductor

Boy slurps watermelon. Credit: Shutterstock

Dialog Semiconductor gobbles Atmel for $4.6bn, with 'synergies' on the way

UK-based chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor is to acquire US chip firm Atmel for $4.6bn (£3bn) in a cash and stocks deal. The acquisition will create a company with a combined value (annual revenues) of $2.5bn, or £1.6bn. In 2014, Dialog posted sales of $1.15bn (£740m), up 28 per cent on 2013; while Atmel's full-year results …
Kat Hall, 21 Sep 2015

Rambus decides to enter the semiconductor chip manufacturing game

Serial litigant and denizen of chip makers' nightmare realms, Rambus, known for its licensing business model and the resultant court cases, has announced it is getting into the manufacturing game itself. Rambus has stated that its products will aid the company to move away from its often litigation-linked business model. CEO …
management regulation2

IBM sued for talking up semiconductor business it couldn't give away

A US public pension fund has filed a class-action lawsuit against IBM, claiming the company misrepresented the value of the semiconductor business it offloaded to GlobalFoundries in October. The suit filed by the City of Sterling Heights Police & Fire Retirement System in Michigan accuses IBM of having inflated its own share …
Neil McAllister, 03 Mar 2015
Samsung 60nm 1Gb DDR 2 DRAM chip and DIMM

Samsung issues 'deep apology' to cancer-hit semiconductor workers

Samsung has officially apologised to over 200 semiconductor workers who suffered from leukaemia and other cancers – for which their families blame the Korean firm. The company has also promised to compensate "affected" workers and their families, according to local news agency Yonhap. "Several workers at our production …

TSMC touts IoT as semiconductor growth engine

Taiwanese chip fab TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co) reckons its Next Big Thing is going to be, you guessed it, the Internet of Things. The vendor, whose contract customers (such as Apple) make it a powerhouse of IC manufacturing, expects demand for microcontrollers, image sensors, WiFi and Bluetooth sensors will …
The Register breaking news

Scientists demo light-controlled semiconductor

US boffins have documented a transition from metal to semiconductor that can be controlled by exposure to light. The researchers, from Washington University in St Louis, created a thin film of gold nanorods coated with zinc oxide. The result: with no illumination, the gold/zinc oxide mix conducted electricity as a metal, but …

We're NOT DOOMED after all: Global semiconductor sales post record 2013

The PC business may be imploding and large chunks of the global economy may still be struggling, but you wouldn't know it from last year's worldwide semiconductor sales – they topped $300bn for the first time in history, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). For the full year, the industry raked in $305.6bn …
Rik Myslewski, 06 Feb 2014
Comparison between ThruChip Communications' ThruChip Interface (TCI) and through-silicon via (TSV)

Semiconductor boffin: 3D NAND don't need NO STEENKIN' TSVs

Blocks and Files Chip analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis took exception to several issues raised in a recent 3D NAND story, and El Reg storage desk asked him a few short questions for clarification. He provided a few short answers that did just that - and here they are. El Reg: Are there TSVs (through-silicon vias – vertical electrical …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jun 2014
racks of Fujistu lettuce

Why are Fujitsu and Toshiba growing lettuce in semiconductor plants?

Fujitsu’s foray into growing lettuce is not meant to be a revenue stream, but rather a necessary step in convincing farmers to start utilising ICT, the tech giant’s boss has told us. Which is just as well, as the clean-room grown lettuce the IT giant unveiled last week will produce revenues of $3.8m this year, according to our …
Joe Fay, 22 May 2014

Apple snaffles low-power wireless firm Passif Semiconductor

Apple has acquired a privately-held low-power Bluetooth specialist called Passif Semiconductor. Not a lot is known about the company, which Business Week describes as a manufacturer of “switch-based wireless transceivers with low power consumption and a small footprint” that was incorporated in 2007. It's also known that the …
Simon Sharwood, 02 Aug 2013
Arizona State U's white laser schematic

Boffins get the inside dope, craft white laser

Arizona State University researchers have crafted a white laser – a neat trick since “white” isn't a colour, but a mix of colours. To create a white LED lamp, for example, today's technologies need multiple colour LEDs blended together. Trying to fabricate a single light source that looks white is difficult, however, since …

Global slowdown bites Japan's semiconductor crowd

There was more bad news for Japan’s beleaguered semiconductor industry on Thursday as it emerged the country’s big name chip suppliers were hit hard by a global slow down in the second quarter which saw worldwide sales plunge by over $2bn from the previous year, according to analysts. Bean counters at IHS iSuppli said global …
Phil Muncaster, 24 Aug 2012

India ponders home-baked chips for defence and nuke plants

India is reportedly pondering a new policy that would see only home-baked silicon used in its military, space program and atomic energy industry. Sources have told the Times of India that government officials have raised the idea with representatives of the three industries mentioned above. Just why is open to speculation. …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jul 2015

FIGHT! Semiconductor heavyweights debate government's role, gloves come off

ISSCC At this week's normally staid International Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC), during a discussion of government's role in the development of technology, voices were raised and numbers were tossed about as debate grenades. The dispute took place during the audience Q&A of a panel session discussing the future of the …
Rik Myslewski, 13 Feb 2014

Silicon rumour-mill says Avago's next acquisition target is Broadcom

Shopaholic Avago Technologies is reportedly in talks to acquire Broadcom, in an acquisition that would significantly boost its presence in the high-end smartphone space. First reported behind The Wall Street Journal's paywall, the talks are attributed to the usual “people familiar with the matter”. Reuters says the deal could …
Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan Supreme Court rules former TSMC exec leaked chip secrets to Samsung

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly won a lawsuit against a former employee over claims that he leaked details of the chip fabber's 28-nanometer process technology to archrival Samsung. As a result of the judgment, Liang Mong-song, a former top R&D man at TSMC, has been barred from working for …
Neil McAllister, 25 Aug 2015
Reinhard Ploss CEO

Infineon CEO admits auto-chip biz may be a takeover target

Former Siemens chip company Infineon may find itself on the shopping list of a bigger semiconductor company, thanks to its strength in automotive. Consolidation and specialisation has been the order of the day in the semiconductor industry, with fewer companies for each type of component. Where once there were a dozen or so …
Simon Rockman, 01 Sep 2015
Funnel of cash. Credit: via SXC –

Chip chef Avago gobbles up Broadcom for $37 BEEEELLLION

As rumored this week, chip designer and supplier Avago is buying chip designer Broadcom in a cash-and-stock deal worth $37bn (£24bn). Broadcom is probably best known to Reg readers as the biz behind the BCM system-on-chips found in the Raspberry Pi and various other gizmos. The combined biz will rename itself Broadcom Ltd as it …
Chris Mellor, 28 May 2015

Rambus drops $35m for Unity Semiconductor

Rambus is spending $35m (£22.13m) in cash to buy Unity Semiconductor and get into the post-NAND memory business. Unity is involved with CMOX resistive RAM technology, said to combine DRAM speed and NAND non-volatility. It hopes to produce a 1 terabit chip by 2014. Unity's people will be joining Rambus, putting an end to any …
Chris Mellor, 07 Feb 2012
fingers pointing at man

Chip sales sag says semiconductor seller survey

Thanks to the flooding in Thailand and other macroeconomic issues, chip sales fell by 3.1 per cent last November to $25.13bn, according to statistics from the Semiconductor Industry Association. Those figures are a three-month moving average running from September through November, compared to sales from the same period on 2010 …
GlobalFoundries Fab 8

IBM gets green light to sell off chips biz to GlobalFoundries

IBM looks to be in the clear to sell off its ailing chippery division to GlobalFoundries after US regulators gave the deal the nod on Tuesday. GlobalFoundries was spun off from AMD in 2009 with substantial funding from the Advanced Technology Investment Company, a wholly owned investment vehicle of the government of Abu Dhabi, …
Neil McAllister, 30 Jun 2015

'Soft' market will make Imagination's profits droop, warns firm

British chipmaking biz Imagination Technologies has posted a profit warning for its next financial quarter, blaming "softness" in the chip market. "The semiconductor sector in general had a weak June quarter but the industry expectation is for this to improve in the second half of the year," it said in its interim update for …
Kat Hall, 16 Sep 2015
Railway line split. Pic: Ian Sane

Activist investor Jana Partners calls for Qualcomm break-up

Activist investors in chip giant Qualcomm are reportedly calling for a break-up of the semiconductor biz in order to boost its stock price. Jana Partners, which owns a $2bn (£1.4bn) stake in the biz, is calling on Qualcomm to spin off its chip unit from its patent-licensing operation, according to a letter to Jana investors seen …
Kat Hall, 13 Apr 2015

Allow the merger, please, we'll play nice, NXP begs EU competition chief

Dutch chipmaker NXP is attempting to get ahead of any EU antitrust concerns regarding its planned Freescale takeover by offering a bunch of concessions to the European Commission, before it has even had a chance to investigate. Competition spokesman Ricardo Cardoso confirmed on Tuesday that the company had sought approval for …
Jennifer Baker, 04 Aug 2015

Fujitsu says sayonara to semiconductor biz, thousands of staff

Japanese IT giant Fujitsu has been trying to eject its semiconductor business for a number of years, and has finally had enough of the drag it puts on its revenues and earnings. To that end, Fujitsu will spin out its chip business into partnerships with consumer electronics conglomerate Panasonic and rival Taiwan Semiconductor …
John von Neumann and the IAS computer

Long-memoried boffins re-invent 1950s ferroelectric tech

A new memory technology which harks back to the 1950s is to be launched by the Ferroelectric Memory Company (FMC), a commercial venture being spun out of the Technical University of Dresden’s nano and micro-laboratory (NaMLab). NaMLab specialises in dielectric materials for semiconductor devices and focuses on the application …
Simon Rockman, 17 Sep 2015
arrow pointing up

Memory market climbs out of toilet: ASML reports beefy financials

Shares in semiconductor production equipment maker ASML hit a record high this morning after it beats analysts’ top and bottom line forecasts, suggesting the sector’s no longer stuck in the U-bend. The numbers for the Dutch biz are moving in the right direction: sales came in at €1.49bn, versus €1.32bn in the prior quarter. …
Paul Kunert, 21 Jan 2015
The Register breaking news

Plastic semiconductor makes solar cells more efficient

It sounds paradoxical, but reducing the amount of energy captured in a silicon solar cell can make it more efficient, according to University of Texas researchers. The research by chemist Xiaoyang Zhu addresses the problem of “hot electrons” – electrons created in a silicon solar cell that are too energetic to be useful and are …
Maser developed by Princeton University researchers

REGARD our TINY but POWERFUL LASER, suitable for very SMALL sharks

Shrinking the scale of semiconductor materials to help build powerful quantum-computing systems has proved to be a real head-scratcher for scientists. However, boffins at Princeton University have come up with a device that they think could be a "major step forward" for the tech. The university's associate physics professor, …
Team Register, 17 Jan 2015

TI acquires National Semiconductor for $6.5bn

Texas Instruments has agreed to purchase rival National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion, a deal would combine two of the world's largest chip makers. TI said the pact would expand its portfolio of analog chips, processors that create a bridge between the worlds of analog and digital. Whereas digital chips can only handle 1s and …
Cade Metz, 04 Apr 2011

Boffins have made optical transistors that can reach 4 TERAHERTZ

Aluminum-doped zinc oxide is the key to building faster, optical chips, according to researchers at Purdue University, Indiana. They've modelled an all-optical, CMOS-compatible transistor capable of 4THz speeds, potentially more than 1,000 times faster than silicon transistors. The all-optical bit means that the data stream …
Simon Rockman, 07 Aug 2015
14nm Samsung Exynos 7 Octa

Samsung grows 'custom ARM' brains to outsmart arch-nemesis Apple

Samsung will join Apple and other mobile semiconductor rivals in producing chips powered by homegrown, proprietary application cores in 2016, according to a new report. The South Korean goliath has been shipping mobes featuring its own Exynos system-on-chips (SoCs) for a good while now, but the application processor cores in …
Neil McAllister, 08 Apr 2015
hands waving dollar bills in the air

Apple: First cult to lead world in semiconductor spending

Apple has become the world's largest OEM buyer of seminconductors, leaving both Hewlett-Packard and Samsung in the dust, according to industry research outfit IHS iSuppli. In 2010, iSuppli says, Apple spent $17.5 billion on semiconductors, a 79.6 per cent increase from the $9.7 billion is spent in 2009. That year, the company …
Cade Metz, 08 Jun 2011
Boy slurps watermelon. Credit: Shutterstock

The great silicon slurp of 2015 continues: Atmel next on the shopping block

Another instalment in this year's consolidation in the silicon market appears to be on the cards, with reports emerging that microcontroller outfit Atmel is looking for a buyer. As Reuters reports, the company's CEO, Steve Laub, is due to retire at the end of August, something that may have sparked the decision to seek …
The Register breaking news

Laser used to cool semiconductor

Lasers heat things up, right? – unless you happen to hit upon the right resonance, in which case it seems you can use lasers to cool things down. laser_cooled_semiconductor Koji Usami carries out the experiments at the Quantop laboratories at the Niels Bohr Institute. Credit: Niels Bohr Institute In an announcement that …

Samsung Electronics coughs up £55m for cancer-stricken workers

About seventy people have died and more than 200 have been diagnosed with cancer at Samsung's displays and chips factories, and having accepted responsibility in May 2014 the tech giant this week announced a 100 billion won (£55m) fund for victims. Workers and campaigners have attributed illnesses such as lymphoma and leukemia …
Simon Rockman, 06 Aug 2015
Intel sign by

Intel gobbles up chipmaker Altera in $16.7 BILLION splurge

Intel has subsumed Altera for $16.7bn (£11bn), ending months of “will they, won't they” takeover chatter. The acquisition will allow Chipzilla to get its mitts on Altera's field-programmable gate array (FPGA) tech – chips that customers can configure after purchase. The acquired unit will sit in Intel's bit barn division. The …
Kat Hall, 01 Jun 2015

WOODEN computer chips reveal humanity's cyber elf future

Boffins have developed a biodegradable semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood in an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices. Technicians from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), have demonstrated the …

IBM: Please, take our chip unit. We'll give you $1.5 billion

Big Blue is going to become slightly less Big and Blue by paying Global Foundries $1.5bn to take on its chip-making business, according to multiple media reports. The giant's retreat from hardware continues following the transfer of the X86 server business to Lenovo. Bloomberg and others reported an IBM statement saying it is …
Chris Mellor, 20 Oct 2014

China looks to gobble Micron, acquire its own RAM and flash chipper

A WSJ report says a Chinese government owned chip-maker is bidding $23 billion to buy Micron, the USA's top DRAM and flash manufacturer. The Tsinghua Unigroup is the largest fabless semiconductor business in China. It has a somewhat opaque structure. Think if it as a branch of the Chinese Communist party, run by a party …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015
French fries

NXP snaps up Freescale to form new chipzilla

Dutch chip company NXP has snapped up US rival Freescale Semiconductor for $11.8bn (£7.7bn). The deal is expected to create a combined annual turnover of $10bn (£6.5bn), with NXP claiming the new entity will have a market valuation of $40bn (£26bn). NXP said it expects to make $200m (£130m) in the first full year after closing …
Kat Hall, 02 Mar 2015

Witness Apple's iPhone-iPad extravapalooza here in our no-hate zone

Commentary Gooooood morning, Pacific America. Today is at last the great day. From 10am today, 1700 UTC, Apple will reveal the new era-defining machinery that will power our lives into the future. Our excitable cousins in the UK are not like us here in San Francisco, California. While we hold hope, they hold scorn. This is now a no-hate …
Chris Williams, 09 Sep 2015

Toshiba plans chippery with mere 0.5V power slurp by 2017

Toshiba is getting ready to announce a low-power semiconductor technology it says will hit the market in scale in 2017. Lower power is something of a holy grail in the world of chips: it means less heat to dissipate away from transistors. That in turn lets devices be clocked at higher speeds (because higher clock speeds increase …
GlobalFoundries Fab 8

Things that make you go hmm: GlobalFoundries hires ex-IBM chip fabber

A former IBM exec who oversaw chip fabrication has been hired by GlobalFoundries, the company that's rumored to be buying IBM's chip fabrication wing. Henry DiMarco, a longtime Big Blue employee, has moved to GlobalFoundries as vice-president of site construction and facilities, to help out on the construction and " …
Jack Clark, 10 Jul 2014

Graphene sheaths could boost processor signal speeds by 30 per cent

Scientists at Stanford have found a new use for graphene that will significantly increase the speed of standard computer processors. Most chips use copper interconnects to route signals around their semiconductor circuits, and these are typically insulated with a coating of tantalum nitride. The Stanford team instead used an …
Iain Thomson, 18 Jun 2015

Thanks for the memory: XPoint put under the analyst microscope

Semiconductor market researcher Jim Handy of Objective Analysis has produced an 80-page report looking into what XPoint memory is, how it could be used and what its prospects are. XPoint memory was unveiled by Micron and Intel in July to general amazement. The pair claimed it was 1,000 times faster than NAND, ten times denser …
Chris Mellor, 23 Sep 2015

The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

Critics have had half a century to pick apart and predict the end of Moore’s Law, which marked its Big Five Zero birthday this week. It’s unlikely that Gordon Earle Moore, the former electrical engineer who authored the eponymous law for a 1965 article, and who two-years later co-founded Intel, has any doubts over its value. …
Dave Wilby, 23 Apr 2015
Toshiba MQ03ABB300

Is Toshiba mulling asset sales? HDD, TV businesses in the frame

Comment Toshiba is in trouble and could be about to exit the PC and disk drive businesses. The company is still suffering badly from a massive accounting scam, which overstated profits for seven years, and it has just reported a lousy quarter with losses of $91m. Masashi Muromachi became Toshiba’s new president (chief executive) in …
Chris Mellor, 14 Sep 2015

Mohawk Valley, NY to become the new Silicon Valley in fab fab deal

A deal between SUNY Poly (State University New York), the state of New York, GE and Austrian sensor and analog IC company AMS will see an East Coast US chip fab built to research and make nano-scale devices. AMS is putting an initial $2bn into their venture, which the state will top up with $200m. GE will stump up $200m and …
Simon Rockman, 24 Aug 2015

Boffins cage qubits inside superconducting silicon

Boffins at the University of Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute think they're on the verge of creating qubits (quantum bits) that could be fabricated using technologies close to today's silicon techniques. The JQI group wants to create a blend of superconductor-style qubits and semiconductor qubits: superconducting wires and …