STMicroelectronics has made a multi-year, multi-generation license agreement
with embedded memory developer Virage Logic. ST has licensed Virage Logic's
entire portfolio of embedded memory technology and embedded software tools
for its future 90nm and 65nm and current 0.13micron logic processes. Virage
Logic is to expand its embedded SRAMs, ROMs and non-volatile memory
platforms for both 90nm and future 65nm products targeted for ST's 300mm
Crolles II fab in France. STMicroelectronics has already successfully taped
out 90nm memory products from Virage Logic.
Compound annual growth rates for microcontroller unit shipments is expected
to be 11.32% in the period 2001-2006, according to In-Stat/MDR. Revenue
CAGRs is expected to be 1% as a result of price erosion. The devices are
expected to meet increasing competition from system on chip products.
Parthus Technologies has licensed its phase lock loop (PLL) intellectual
property (IP) to the 1st Silicon (Malaysia) foundry. As the first phase of
the agreement, 1st Silicon will verify the Parthus PLL IP in silicon using a
test chip containing multiple PLL instantiations designed to exercise the
extremes of the design range. Further verification will be completed through
simulations using an automated test bench designed to test all valid PLL
configurations in 1st Silicon's 0.25micron and 0.18micron CMOS process
technologies. PLLs are used in clock synthesis cores. Software will be
available to 1st Silicon customers through the Parthus website in October
Tokyo Electron's Arizona subsidiary (TAZ) has settled its claims of
misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims against Hummel Machine
and Tool Company and certain affiliated parties in the US courts. Hummel
manufactured machine parts from TAZ designs for the Eclipse machine under a
non-disclosure agreement for many years. In the lawsuit, TAZ alleges that
Discreet Industries stole TAZ's designs for replacement parts used in TAZ'
Eclipse single wafer PVD tools and corrupted TAZ's confidential supplier
network. In the settlement, Hummel admits liability and agrees to pay a
substantial royalty on the parts to TAZ. Further, Hummel admits breaching
the non-disclosure agreement and using confidential information to make
parts for Discreet Industries. The court has accepted the settlement. Hummel
will continue to make Eclipse machine parts based on TAZ designs only for
Infineon Technologies has a five year plan (Agenda 5-to-1) to be among the
top four IC manufacturers by 2007. In its five business groups, the company
has set the target of being among the top three - and top two in terms of
profitability. The company wants to be number one
Singapore's ST Assembly Test Services (STATS) confirms its previous
guidance, based on its current outlook, of sequential revenue growth of
5-10%, Q3/Q2. The company also says it has no need nor any plans for
additional financing this year.
X-ray metrology tool producer Bede Scientific made its third profit warning
this year. It says that interim losses will be worse than expected. Sales to
June 30 will be in line with expectations, but this was not sufficient to
cover costs and investments in the short term. The company has had
difficulties converting customer interest into signed orders. Official
figures are due on September 26.
SEMI's book-to-bill ratio for the North American semiconductor equipment
industry was 1.14 in August. Orders came to $1.12bn and billings were
$981mn. These figures represent a 57% increase and a 14% decrease on August
VLSI Research puts August's book-to-bill for the world semiconductor
equipment industry at 0.92. This consists of $2.13bn in bookings and $2.32bn
in completed sales. The sales were 10% down and the bookings 25% up on
August 2001. For IC production, the August book-to-bill is put at 0.92 -
$9.35bn in bookings and $10.19bn in sales. IC capacity utilisation was 86.7%
in August, compared with July's 84.8%.
iSuppli has produced a 2001 league table for ASIC suppliers. Top dog is IBM
with revenues at $2.296bn. Fujitsu is number two with $1.209bn. Third place
goes to LSI Logic with $1.122bn. The top European company was
STMicroelectronics at No.9 with $322mn.
Leica Microsystems Lithography is to deliver an electron beam lithography
system to the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems
(IMS) in Dresden, Germany. The tool will be able to direct write on silicon
wafers and produce photomasks. IMS produces both ICs and microsystems.
Tokyo Electron (TEL) has been appointed sole distributor for Bede Scientific
Instruments products in Japan. TEL will market, sell, install and maintain
the entire range of Bede products for semiconductor applications and for
other markets such as life sciences and pharmaceuticals from October 2002.
The systems will be delivered before year-end
and will be used for advanced inspection of semiconductor packages. The
OVHM4 is a dual detector module combining a conventional image intensifier
and contrast sensitive image detector. The tool is based on oblique view at
highest magnification (ovhm) technology and is capable of generating
multiple angle real-time x-ray images of the same sample with both detectors
offering an infinitely adjustable penetration angle. This allows the
operator to quickly detect failures in interconnects and quantify failures,
such as excessive voiding.
Tower Semiconductor has ordered multiple A400 vertical furnace systems from
ASM International. The equipment will be used in Tower's new 0.18micron Fab
2 foundry. Delivery of the systems has started and will continue during the
next few quarters.
Brooks-PRI Automation has signed a definitive agreement to acquire motion
and machine control technology company Berkeley Process Control. The
purchase will be in exchange for 614,374 Brooks-PRI shares. These shares are
subject to adjustment depending upon the performance of Berkeley in the
quarter ended December 31, 2002. The deal is expected to close by calendar
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Robotic Vision Systems is exploring the sale of its Semiconductor Equipment
Group and has started discussions with a number of interested parties. The
Semiconductor Equipment Group has businesses covering 3-D inspection of
assembled ICs and defects and wafer bump metrology. Discussions have not yet
entered into the price negotiation stage.
Tokyo Electron (TEL) is implementing reorganisation of its software
development division on October 1, 2002. The operations of TEL's Advanced
Software Engineering department will be transferred to Tokyo Electron
Sapporo, a software development subsidiary. Further, the trade name and
other corporate profiles of Tokyo Electron Sapporo will become Tokyo
Electron Software Technologies.
Fairchild Semiconductor has opened a Package and Technology Knowledge Center
in South Korea. The centre will research new packaging materials to improve
thermal and mechanical performance and develop new assembly techniques.
Nanomix has closed a $9mn Series B financing round led by Apax Partners and
Sevin Rosen Funds. The company has integrated nanotube electronics on a
four-inch silicon wafer and performed lab-scale prototyping of a
high-density hydrogen storage system. The company plans to produce chemical
sensors aimed at industrial gas leak detection, medical monitoring and
industrial process control. The leak detection sensors are expected to reach
the market in H2 2003. Nanomix is also developing high-density hydrogen
storage alternatives for the emerging fuel cell industry.