March 27, 1976
1. LES HOGAN
It's quite likely that Hogan feels he's too young to retire and would like to
have one last final fling in the industry. LSI Systems was a real moneymaker in
the heyday of the watch markets, as they had super yields; i.e., better than 100
chips per wafer on 2-inch wafers and were selling the chips at about $3 each.
Part of the "secret" was a very small chip created by Frank Wanlass. A patent
was applied for on the innovation. Wafers, even in the obsolete facility they
were in, would cost only about $30 each for a 2-inch water; thus, they were
making chips for factory cost of some $.3 and selling them for over $3.00.
Recently the watch market has bombed because of the TI announcement, and it's
likely that watch chips have or will shortly reach $.50 apiece.
Siemens has had an ongoing program for some time for the purchase of a U.S.
semiconductor company. They purchased Dickson Electronics in Scottsdale,
Arizona and also have established a worldwide corporate research center in the
Phoenix metropolitan area. The director of research is ex-Honeywell, German,
and skilled in magnetics.
Riley has a good eye for semiconductor predictions and a number of friends
throughout the industry who contribute to his database, including ICE. With the
fact that Riley now gets the semiconductor production equipment numbers through
the Semicon agreement, he should be in an even better position to judge capacity
and further enhance Dataquest's position in the semiconductors numbers game
business. Next is a continuous tally on wafer consumption, a fair indicator but
one requiring inventory corrections. Short shelf-life chemicals would be good
indicators, but no one has tackled it yet.
4. PRECISION MONOLITHICS TELECOMMUNICATIONS
ICE feels that telecommunications are the hot market for semiconductors for the
next five to ten year period.
Timex has been studying acquisitions for some time and it's pretty apparent they
feel they'll have to acquire somebody to retain their position as a major
supplier of low cost watches.
It appeared that Cox lost the confidence of his staff and this is the basic
reason for his removal. Among the people interviewing for the job are Bob
Jones, ex-Motorola/Phoenix QC operations type whose most recent responsibility
is to head the Guadalajara, Mexico operation. Rumors, of course, persist
regarding Tom Longo and Les Hogan. Intersil is advertising for engineering help
7. GENERAL EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS
We understand that Fairchild has begun hiring in the middle management to low
management range, and also that National and Motorola are both adding to staff.
Don's calibration seems outdated -- $17-18K has to be light-middleweight.
8. ELECTRONIC ARRAYS
It's unlikely that Electronic Arrays has the resources for the game plan
contemplated by Don Bell; i.e., become a technological leader of the industry
rather than the "let's copy cheap" tradition of many companies the size of
Electronic Arrays. Obviously some changes will have to be made.
9. INTERSIL RELIABIlITY 4K RAM
Based upon reports from IBM, Motorola, and others, it appears that there are
three or four more new failure modes in the 4K RAM that not everyone has
In spite of continuing lack of profitability, it appears that Raytheon plans to
hang in there. It seems unlikely that under present management that they would
get anywhere, although the second source agreement with AMD on the 2901
microprocessor slice was a move in the right direction.
© 1976 Copyright Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation