ORLANDO, Fla. The 1990s saw a wave of startups that made it big, but the electronics industry has entered a consolidation stage that doesn't bode well for new companies, according to Freescale Semiconductor Chairman and CEO Michel Mayer.
In an interview with EE Times, Mayer said, "The opportunities for a niche company to be a Broadcom are gone."
With Intel retrenching to its core processor business, partly in response to pressure from rival AMD, opportunities for established companies such as Freescale may have increased.
"My worries were that Intel was going to be powerful in embedded," as well as other markets in which Freescale plays, including wireless. With Intel selling its cellular division to Marvell and the chip giant rethinking other communications efforts, "It creates a wonderful opportunity," he said.
Mayer has spent his two years at the helm of Freescale refocusing the company on its core businesses. These range from 8-bit microcontrollers and its PowerPC-based architecture to its wireless and automotive divisions. That has led to steady growth, including second-quarter earnings of 14 percent.
"You need to be where you're good at," he said. "Our strength is embedding [technology] in the everyday" products. "We took our eye off the ball at 8-bit [microcontrollers]," he acknowledged.
Mayer said he is "intrigued by the use of technology outside of classic boundaries [of] the integration of technology." That interest was embodied in a demonstration during his presentation Tuesday (July 25) in which he showed a videotaped demonstration of the AccelaGlove, a glove and armband that employs accelerometers to translate sign-language movements into speech. The unit uses six accelerometersone for each finger and one for the hand itselfand another for above and below the elbow.