Microchip Technology Inc. is putting more muscle behind its "black magic" analog business by forming a separate analog IC division that will also serve to bolster the company's recent push into DSPs.
Rolling together more than a decade of analog product development with the technology of TelCom Semiconductor Inc., which it acquired in January, Microchip's Analog and Interface Products Division will account for roughly 10% of the company's annual sales of $700 million-plus.
"With TelCom successfully integrated into our enterprise, the [division] is focused on attaching [its analog] products to more than 30,000 current embedded-control customers and developing new products for growth markets where Microchip has not participated," said Steve Sanghi, president and chief executive of the Chandler, Ariz., company.
The division will also build off Microchip's recent launch of its dsPIC DSP family and the creation of the Digital Signal Controller Division (DSCD), as the industry's DSP growth continues to gain on microcontroller sales.
"DSPs can't exist without mixed-signal and analog to move real-world information, either voice or video, into the digital domain," said Will Strauss, an analyst at Forward Concepts Co., Tempe, Ariz. "Microchip also realizes that the DSP chip market is growing significantly faster than the MCU market and will ultimately surpass it in size, so they're looking to bolster their DSP presence any way they can."
Microchip has been adept at leveraging its analog know-how to support its 8-bit MCU business, which ranks second in sales behind Motorola Inc., Strauss said. "Microchip has been pretty good at putting analog onto the same chip with their MCUs, and they will no doubt do that with their DSPs as well," he said.
Much of the division's analog capabilities draw from the TelCom buyout, which will help the division extend beyond standard analog ICs based on CMOS, said Bryan Liddiard, vice president of marketing at the company's Analog and Interface Products division.
"With the acquisition of TelCom, we really opened up our opportunities," Liddiard said. "[We gained] a lot of different foundry [sources] that offer higher-voltage products based on materials such as BiCMOS instead of the standard 6V or lower-voltage ICs associated with our standard-analog CMOS ICs."
For example, the company now offers analog MOSFET drivers and LDOs, he said. "[The expanded analog focus] also fits into a lot of our PICmicro [MCU] product lines such as industrial-control applications," Liddiard said.
The division's portfolio will consist of more than 250 thermal management, power management, linear, interface, mixed-signal, and power-driver solutions for automotive, portable battery-powered, and networking applications. Rich Simoncic, a Microchip vice president, will head the group. The division will consist of 70 employees based in Chandler and Mountain View, Calif.