This proliferation of vehicle electronics has enabled increased fuel
efficiency, improvements in safety and comfort, and helped meet
emission guidelines and mandates. In parallel, automakers are
searching for ways to reduce vehicle weight, and one way to meet
this objective is by replacing mechanical functions with
electrical/electronic control, furthering the proliferation of
Many of the same attributes are needed to succeed in the industrial
market. The industrial market presently represents 41% of our total
sales and is dominated by thousands of small and medium size
customers. These companies develop products for a highly diverse end
market, but the need for innovation in this market is ubiquitous.
The industrial market is divided into many submarkets, each with
unique requirements for product performance.
We’ve found that the industrial market is the common denominator for
all markets. Growth, for example, in the consumer, computing or
telecom markets in turn drives increased demand for more equipment
and infrastructure, which ultimately benefits the industrial market.
Thus growth in any market accelerates the industrial business,
driving it to be our largest end market, with anticipated faster
growth than the overall analog market in the future.
We have concentrated efforts in several emerging innovation-rich new
markets. These include the micro-module family of products, digital
power products, energy harvesting products and low power wireless
sensor network products through the acquisition of Dust Networks.
The areas of smart low power wireless networks and energy harvesting
are emerging markets with many opportunities. Imagine millions of
smart connected devices powered autonomously by energy harvesting
devices, which offer staggering opportunities for analog and
All we need now is for the U.S. Congress to act and create a
business friendly tax structure and develop a plan for a balanced
budget. Europe must find a way to contain its debt crisis, and China
needs to regain its momentum. These are big challenges, but when
solved will drive a surge in the technology business worldwide, and
future growth in which we have the products, technology and
expertise to participate.
Our confidence in the future is a basic part of our makeup. Linear,
like other companies born in Silicon Valley, is driven by innovation
and we are excited by the challenges we face. Looking out over the
next five to ten years, my optimism only grows.
(Lothar Maier is CEO of Linear Technology, headquartered in
Milpitas, Calif. Before being named CEO, in 2005, Maier served as Linear'sCOO. Before joining Linear, held management positions at Cypress Semiconductor Corp. from 1983 to 1999. He holds a BS degree in chemical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley).