SAN JOSE, Calif. The Semiconductor Test Consortium (STC) the Intel-backed group that is driving an “open standard” for automatic test equipment (ATE) has gained some new partners but it also lost a founding member in Freescale Semiconductor Inc.
The disclosure represents a switch in strategy for Freescale and raises questions about the viability of a “standard” or “open architecture” for ATE.
The STC (San Diego), originally founded three years ago by Advantest Corp., Intel, and Motorola Inc., has added Robert Bosch GmbH and STATS ChipPAC Ltd. to its growing membership. The ATE consortium has also forged a partnership with Tokyo University.
Motorola’s chip unit, now called Freescale (Austin, Texas), has decided not to renew its full-fledged membership in the STC, said Sergio Perez, vice president of business development at Advantest’s U.S. subsidiary, Advantest America Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.).
Freescale still participates in the consortium, particularly in the development and standardization of the IEEE Standard Test Interface Language (STIL) technology for the group, Perez said.
Perez believes the chip maker will rejoin the STC as a full member in the future and denied the development is a blow to the ATE consortium. “Freescale will be back,” he said in an interview.
Until recently, though, Freescale had been a major proponent of an open-architecture standard for ATE, especially based on STC’s technology. At one STC event, the chip maker even dropped hints that it would move towards an “open standard” ATE platform within its vast and internal chip-testing operations. Like most chip makers, Freescale has a plethora of different and proprietary ATE platforms.
Last year, Japan’s Advantest (Tokyo) shipped an “open architecture” tester to Freescale. Sources believe that the installation did not go as planned and Freescale reportedly returned the tester to Advantest for undisclosed reasons. Officials from Freescale did not elaborate on the move to drop out of the STC.