EE Times: At the corporate level, TI's CEO has talked often about the importance of analog to the company's future. What exactly does TI expect to do in the analog area and how does the company hope to get there? In other words, are you planning growth through acquisitions or through internal expansion?
Lowe: We've been working on our analog strategy now for the last 9 or 10 years and what we've been able to do over that time period is carve out a relatively solid position. TI, I believe by most measures, is the number one player in the analog business and we also have a solid position in categories like converters, amplifiers, interface and power management.
But while TI is the No. 1 player in analog, we still have only a market share of 13 percent. So you have a very large market that is on the order of $35 billion to $36 billion where the leading supplier has a relatively small market share. What that means to us is that there is a tremendous growth opportunity for TI.
If we were sitting there with 90 percent market share, it's difficult to think about gaining the remaining 10 percent. The analog market is probably going to consolidate around a couple of strong providers in that space and that is obviously what we intend to do.
Analog is going to become the primary growth engine of the company. You mentioned earlier that TI's analog business represents 40 percent of our total revenue. It's clearly in our sight to drive analog as a percentage of TI's sales up higher simply because we believe it's a higher growth opportunity for us.
EE Times: How does TI plan to get there, through acquisitions or internal growth and if it is through acquisitions, which product areas are you going to be looking at?
Lowe: Acquisitions have clearly been a key part of our strategy and were the foundation for our analog business with the purchase of Unitrode and Burr Brown back in the early 2000 time period. We also have a strategy of organic growth.
From an acquisition standpoint, most of our recent acquisitions have been what I would call 'tuck ins', filing in relatively small gaps in our portfolio as opposed to major acquisitions, which Unitrode and Burr-Brown were.
Most of the recent acquisitions that we have done were relatively small deals to get us into the high efficiency tech market, into the multi-cell battery management market (TI has been a strong player in the power management area but more in the single-cell area.) The acquisition of PowerPrecise gave us capability in multi-cell and larger batteries for things like electric vehicles.