SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- During a speech here, the top U.S. executive for Munich-based Infineon Technologies AG pulled no punches and urged memory device makers to adopt standards in order to change an ongoing pattern of confusion and "island solutions" in the PC and semiconductor markets.
He said standards in the chip industry will not slow innovation and product development. Instead, chip standards will help accelerate new and emerging technologies in the commercial market, argued Jan du Preez, president of Infineon Technologies Inc., which is the San Jose-based unit of the German semiconductor maker.
"We think standards will help enable technologies into the market much faster," Preez said, during his keynote at the JEDEX conference here on Tuesday. JEDEX was sponsored by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association. (JEDEC was once known as the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council.)
The standards process is also important in the area of intellectual-property protection, Preez said. "I think standards can also protect IP," he said.
He indicated that the move to embrace standards is obvious, but he also noted the industry is rife with too many "island solutions," that is, technologies that don't seem to adhere to a common standard.
Preez did not mention Rambus Inc. by name, but analysts believe the Infineon executive may have directed his comments towards the Mountain View, Calif.-based supplier of high-speed memory technology. During the past couple of years, Infineon and others have been embroiled in lawsuits with Rambus, which has been collecting royalties for its memory interface patents.
He also pulled no punches and directed his comments towards the so-called "Wintel" cartel--meaning the PC standard controlled by IntelCorp. and Microsoft Inc. He told the JEDEX audience that "Wintel" is an
"island solution" that is "not a mass market technology."
In an interview with SBN after the speech, Preez clarified his position by saying that it made sense to standardize on Intel's x86-based microprocessors and Microsoft's operating systems in the early years of the personal computer industry. But today, he said, it does not make sense to repeat the same model for new market standards in new systems because only a few companies--Intel and Microsoft--would benefit.
The Infineon executive was also critical of the communications industry for its development of "island solutions." For example, the shift
towards from OC-768 to high-speed networks will create the need for new standards, he said during the key keynote.
JEDEC itself is trying to resolve the chaos in the 802.11 wireless local-area networking market (see today's story). Asked to comment about the effort by JEDEC, Preez said: "That's what JEDEC should do."