SUNNYVALE, Calif. – During an event here this week, analog chip maker Maxim Integrated Products Inc. unveiled what it called ''the new Maxim’’ or ''Maxim 2.0.''
Actually, ''Maxim 2.0,’’ the company’s business strategy, was set in motion back in 2000 and expanded in 2007. As part of the evolving and ongoing plan, the analog chip maker has remade the company-and shaken up the corporate culture.
It has expanded its product focus, reduced chip and process development times, embraced foundries and is on an acquisition spree. At the event this week, in which the company had a breathtaking 24 separate presentations over a four-and-a-half hour span, Sunnyvale-based Maxim not only discussed its strategy, but it also tipped a number of new products.
The company is quietly devising a range of devices, including a new battery management device for electric cars, a Class D audio amplifier, a MEMs oscillator and a power line communications device.
Tunc Doluca , president and chief executive of Maxim, said the company follows what it calls a ''balanced business model,’’ in which the chip maker continues to expand beyond its industrial analog roots and invests in new, high-growth markets.
Maxim-which has bought six companies in the last three years-continues to look for acquisitions that are ''adjacent’’ or fit within the company’s product strategy, Doluca said during an interview after the presentations.
On the business front, he remains upbeat despite signs of a slowdown in the IC market. The company is seeing ''some weakness’’ in the PC and LCD segments, but the rest of company’s markets ''look robust,’’ he told EE Times.
But it has been a roller coaster ride for Maxim and its analog rivals. 2009 was a down year for the steady analog market. But then, in early 2010 or so, the analog crowd, including Maxim, saw a surge in demand and experienced shortages and long lead times.
Now, there are signs of an IC lull. ''We believe we are past the fifth inning of a preannouncement window with a few more candidates lowering their guidance into the end of September,’’ said Vernon Essi, an analyst with Needham & Co. LLC, in a recent report. ''Specifically, we believe Maxim, Intersil and O2Micro are likely candidates to preannounce given their high concentration of revenue exposure to computing and consumer.’’
Analog is ''holding steady’’ despite the lull, said Susie Inouye, an analyst at Databeans Inc., but “obviously, the third quarter is softer.’’ The IC market is projected to grow 24 percent in 2010, she said. Of that, the analog market is expected to grow 30 percent this year, she added.
Another challenge for Maxim and others is how vendors will react to Texas Instrument Inc., which recently open the world’s first 300-mm analog fab. ''TI is bringing on lots of 300-mm and other capacity, driving low cost advantages to hit the likes of National, Maxim, ADI, Intersil, and to a lesser extent, Linear,’’ said Craig Berger, an analyst with FBR.
I too used to have serious concerns about Maxim as a supplier. Of course, essentially any supplier will have their battles with occasional lead-time challenges. Over the last three years, designing (and supplying) through Maxim has been nothing but positive. Maxim was recently recognized by NEDA as "Manufacturer of the Year". http://pr.woodstockwire.com/?p=1580
No supplier is ever perfect but I feel that Maxim is unique as they clearly recognized their historic supply chain "challenges" and put their best efforts and intentions into improving the customer experience.
From my seat, they care and are on the right path. Congratulations Maxim.
Like the products, worst supply chain in history. I will never specify Maxim products nor allow any product containing Maxim products in any of our production or designs. Maxim has badly burned many companies beyond belief. I was looking for some sign of change, but the comments on fab reducing costs and nothing about improving supply chain gave me no confidence. It's clear they are doing great as a business, so there's no need really become a "new" Maxim.
Maxim has an excellent engineering team and a variety of interesting niche products. However I also have been burned badly by Maxim's supply chain. I will consider Maxim products only as a second source. "Maxim 2.0" provides no insight that they are addressing the supply chain problem or even care. The only time I really see an Maxim rep is during a recession, and yes they showed up in May of 2009.
To numberone2: AMEN. I have been burned by maxim several times for availability, to the point of bringing my business to a screeching halt. I bought likely counterfeit/rejected parts from China (30% failure rate) because I was desperate for a solution to MAXIM's PERSISTENT SUPPLY PROBLEM. I will *NEVER* use maxim *EVER AGAIN*. The offending, still 18-week leadtime parts have been designed out. GOODBYE MAXIM and good riddance.
Unless there is a discussion about how they are revamping their supply chain, it sounds like the new Maxim is undertaking business as usual by announcing terrific sounding parts that will not be available to anyone outside of their 30 largest customers. As it is, me and most of the people I know will not even consider Maxim, and nothing in this article compels me to rethink that.
I think the firm does not come out clear as being a leader. Their products are not that superior. Compared to TI, I think they have a long way to go. I always think it is second-tier, maybe, it is me. This firm needs scale to even lead in the metering sub-sector.
Mark, I believe that Maxim is correct -- smart meters will be a "big deal" (in a very competitive global market). They are an important ingredient of Maximís major expansion into smart power grid applications.
The smart power grid strategy includes: (1) powerline communications (PLC), (2) power-grid monitoring/protection, and (3) smart metering.
The smart power grid targets an infrastructure market rather than an end-equipment segment alone. This provides a larger, global scale market opportunity for a range of products fitting into a range of application solutions. As a result, Maxim intends to achieve a high degree of leverage for its analog/mixed-signal and microcontroller products.
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) brings energy consumers into the smart grid and provides a critical interface between utilities and end consumers; automatic meter reading (AMR) capability provides a range of benefits to both utilities and consumers. Maxim's SoC metering solutions enable designers to integrate high-level functions such as power analysis, advanced reporting, and tamper detection. These ICs are supported with a broad range of the company's products including voltage references, timekeeping devices, and RF devices
For example, for the wireless smart meter application Maxim offers a 900MHz transmitter family of products operating in the ISM band over one mile range. This range could be further extended using the company's silicon bipolar power amplifier. Maxim offers an electricity-metering AFE (analog front-end) device integrating the company's DSP MAXQ core and an 8-channel A/D converter. The company has recently introduced two more products featuring dual-core, 32-bit DSPs.
An excellent article - a "New Maxim" has indeed emerged.
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