December 11, 1976
Don Bell's proficiency as a manager of a semiconductor operation has been
questioned since his unsuccessful tour of duty at Silicon General. EA has
emphasized ROM products with some of the tightest layout tolerances in the
industry. The ROM product line makes sense for EA, as opposed to competing in
the tough 4K RAM market. The microprocessor is a gamble, and EA needs immediate
second-source support from a credible vendor.
There seems little doubt that Electronic Arrays will receive less direct
and indirect support from Philips because of their full ownership of Signetics
vs the partial ownership and marketing agreement arrangements they have with
Electronic Arrays. It seems possible that EA will either disappear or be
dissolved into a larger corporation.
ICE has no information on this start-up, but it certainly appears that another
memory house is a bit surplus.
LSI SYSTEMS - TNTEGRATED TECHNOLOGY
It's still fairly difficult to raise funds for semiconductor start-up. With
competition, such as National, venture capital would be fairly scarce unless the
existing watch design had overwhelming attributes. So far, Wanlass' design has
fallen victim to the same fate as his past designs.
Ori Hoch needs both a very strong sales vice president and a marketing vice
president. The particular area is the precise product planning that is going to
be required for profitability in the semiconductor business. It will be
particularly important to winnow now down the diverse activities of the old
Intersil into something manageable.
Siemens, in spite of substantial losses in their Phoenix semiconductor
operations, continues to develop their semiconductor business worldwide. We
understand that Siemens worldwide semiconductor sales now range between $200
million and $300 million.
BILLINGS AND BOOKINGS
The investors seem more sensitive to the bookings than anyone else, and it would
be interesting to see how bookings correlate with profitability for specific
NATIONAl SEMICONDUCTOR STOCK
National will have to take drastic action at Novus to regain its image in the
market. It's very likely that National will drop back to a module supply of
possible custom manufacturing house, eliminate all the marketing and
merchandising and pricing problems of the consumer market.
Layoffs at National are continuing, but the rumor-mill is going so
strongly it's difficult to separate fact from story.
© 1976 Copyright Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation