STMicroelectronics should persuade Ericsson that they sell off their mobile chip joint venture ST-Ericsson, but probably to some aspiring Chinese company. That is likely to produce the quickest and most profitable - or least loss-making - exit for the two parent companies from what has become a failed project.
The other question to ask is who has the means to make something of
ST-Ericsson. I think that some companies from greater China do and
perhaps Apple, which has been going through a process of re-integration
to give itself the ability to develop and own chips during the roll out
of its mobile device strategy.
An acquisition by Apple or Intel might be the best result for keeping technologies and jobs in the western hemisphere long-term but a big
blockbuster chip company buy does not match Apple's methods to
date. It has preferred to pick up small, young IC design groups that provide
key technology or design capability at the best bang for buck.
Apple does not need all the baggage that would come with ST-Ericsson, or the ability to address multiple
customers. Which is why a sale to
a company such as HiSilicon Technologies Co. Ltd. (Shenzhen, China)
backed by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (Shenzhen, China) might extract
the highest value in the shortest time for ST and Ericsson.
Other Chinese companies that might have an interest in ST-Ericsson could include Rockchip, Xincomm, Leadcore Technology, Nufront and Spreadtrum, Of these HiSilicon with its links with Huawei and Leadcore, aligned with Datang, would appear more likely. In Taiwan Mediatek Inc. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) is also a likely candidate.
Like most mobile chip companies ST-Ericsson has been looking to China and such things as the locally mandated and developed TD-SCDMA standard. For mobile chip companies in China or Taiwan ST-Ericsson could bring the means to address the standard as well as access to additional patents with which to address 3G and 4G markets around the world, depending on how the deal is structured.
However, the geopolitical nature of any such sale of ST-Ericsson should not be underestimated. It would be a loss of face for Europe and for the west and behind the scenes moves may be made to try and keep control of the technology and jobs in the west. But what can Europe do? It is a continent of many bankrupt nations and few successful ones. The 27-nation European Union could try to lean on the likes of Apple and Intel to have them step in and save ST-Ericsson. Apple and Intel want to be good European citizens because of the size of the consumer market the European Union represents.
Of course, such is the power of Apple in the mobile device market these days that one design win with Apple could make many of ST-Ericsson's problems go away – at least until they are designed out again.
This is the normal end of a company which has been managed by poor people (Philips Semi., ex. VLSI France,ex. SiLabs US, shark investor KKR, arrogant ST France, Ericsson) more interested to take over the power from the previous direction than to develop competitive and innovative solutions. This is as well very representative of the history of electronic in Europe. Let's see what will be the next steps of auto-destruction !! We shall certainly have very good suprises.
Unfortunately ( or fortunately ) W. European policymakers do not think the same way as Wall St. / City of London or the masses who have swallowed their Kool-aid of so - called "free - market".
Germany just put out a couple of 100 billons to bail out Greece.
Whats a few more billions if there are no alternative to STE for addressing Europe's hardware needs ? Sale of Volvo to China was quite enuff !
The British, who lost industrial competitivenes to France & Germany almost since the advent of the steam locomotive ( invented actually by the Frenchman Cugnot years before Trevithick ), have long abandoned hard work and innovation needed to promote social responsibility and instead have depended on colonial exploitation and unabashed manipulation of the english speaking masses of America to do their bidding.
It is British interference in US media & policies since Thatcher that have greased the skids for our suicidal policies in the name of "free trade".
The new ST-Ericsson LTE/HSPA/GSM modem (in e.g. Thor M7400 and NovaThor L8540) is based on ex-EMP (Ericsson Mobile Platforms) architecture and accelerator IP, and ex-NXP DSP. There is no connection to the Renesas (ex-Nokia) modem.
It's easy to be an arm-chair analyst. But really, if there is one thing you want from ST-E today, what is it?
LTE modem? (But its IPs share the same roots as that of Nokia. Now that Renesas bought Nokia's modem business, ironically, Renesas is the owner of that IPs)
Many of us discussed breaking up the ST-E business, but one could also argue that the strength of ST-E today lies in the fact that it has ALL the elements necessary to make the next smartphone chips.
We all live in a capitalistic society. It doesn't matter whether ST-E serves Europe or NOT. What matters is how to save a company and make it profitable.
Having said that, ST-E seems over-staffed and may need to become lean and mean org.
ST has been runnign sick from many year now, even before the Erricson collaboration. They never understood the mobile revolution and struggled to keep up by reacting late and never made any compelling products these last couple of years. They are still strong in the STB market but that doesn't have the volumes like mobile phone or tablets to keep them afloat.
The Management was clear lacking and it has finally brough a once illustrious company to it's knees. Well, they still keep it running the socialist way by borrowing from their future.
STE appears to be the junkyard for st-E-NXP ?
In this case some smart folk can take the equipment and some 'key' employee and fill in the void.
Anyway it would be tough for anyone to swallow so big a piece of trash.
the ex-qimonda is a good example,
Chinese can be one of the option but i think if they can break company in 3 division Apps Processor, Modem & connectivity then they have potentail of customers for Apps (AMD or ST itself keeping it as they use same ARM core in different product), Modem (being sold to TI if intrested or merging it with recent Japanese + samsung colloboration) and NVIDIA can purchase Connectivity solution.