The other key building blocks are wireless connectivity and power management, analog and mixed-signal. These are also non-critical and it would seem that more outsourcing deals may be on the cards.
However, if ST-Ericsson is to reach its targets, analysts reckon the company still needs to increase revenue run rate and gross margins to about $400 million per quarter and 40 percent, respectively. In its most recent financial results for 1Q12 the company made a net loss of $312 million on sales revenue of $290 million.
It would seem that what we have been told so far is less than half the story. Clearly there may be more outsourcing deals to come but the parents also look decidedly uncomfortable.
Ericsson, which recently took back the ST-Ericsson CTO into its own employ, has disentangled itself from its handset joint-venture with Sony and so looks decidedly less interested in ST-Ericsson. It may be a question of finding a buyer at almost any price. Sony itself might be a contender only it is suffering its own crisis of profitability.
And as outlined above it seems inconceivable that STMicroelectronics shareholders could think it a good deal to carry ST-Ericsson for the next two years.
Perhaps what we will see is the movement of certain technology development operations out of ST-Ericsson to create licensing opportunities, thereby allowing the remaining ModApp company to be sold off. But to have any value it has to continue to get design wins, must continue to lay off engineers and must continue to drive down cost.
The story of ST-Ericsson continues on the same success track. ST will cut it in pieces till the last slice. Qualcomm, TI and Mediatek do not have these problems. Is it a question of management performance ?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.