SAN JOSE, Calif. – Although carriers spent less than expected this year, the outlook in wireless and optical telecom remains good, said Greg Lang, chief executive of PMC-Sierra Inc. In a wide ranging interview, Lang gave his views on PMC’s core markets and deflected reports the company is under pressure to consider a sale.
Activist investor Ralph Whitworth said in a regulatory filing in January his company acquired a 7.17 percent stake in PMC and said the chip vendor should explore strategic alternatives. “The reports [of a possible sale] came out in February and here we are,” said Lang, a finance specialist who climbed the management ranks at Intel and became CEO of PMC in 2008.
“I feel very comfortable with our ability to compete with the resources we have,” said Lang, noting the telecom chip designer now gets most of its revenues from storage components, particularly expanders for the Serial-attached SCSI (SAS) interface used in high-end disk drives.
PMC announced a 12 Gbit/s SAS controller earlier this year it expects to have in production in late 2013, when a 12G SAS ecosystem is ripe. The company also serves as editor of the SCSI Express standard that will marry the server reliability features of SAS with the faster transport of PCI Express, expected to serve a growing market of flash drives and subsystems.
“Flash is the most disruptive thing in storage in a long time, so there will be a lot of opportunities,” said Lang. Intel has not yet weighed in on the SCSI Express standard but “I think they will eventually see the value proposition it brings, and it doesn’t take away” from Intel’s work on the separate NVMe interface, he said.
PMC’s archrival, LSI Corp., has a larger share of the storage chip business and is making hay with the flash controller it acquired with startup SandForce. Despite the rivalries in storage and wireless with LSI, Lang downplayed talk of a merger of the companies.