"Analog vendors must retain their engineering teams and bring out new products," recommends a new Gartner report that examines the competitive landscape for analog ics. They seem rather obvious points, but with the analog market becoming so competitive of late, Gartner sees that the only way to grow revenue will be by capturing market share from competitors and to do this, investment in analog engineering talent is key.
In a report entitled 'Competitive Landscape: Analog Semiconductors, 2009' Gartner's Steve Ohr describes the current state of the market as 'torpid', noting that: "following 2009's revenue trough, the market will grow by single-digits in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 - barely coming up to 2008 revenue levels in 2013." Even before the recession, analog semiconductor vendors had reacted to commodity pricing pressures by upgrading and tightening chip specifications. Lower profile packaging, smaller footprints and lower power have become the main ways in which specifications are being refined across the spectrum of analog IC part types. Gartner notes that this has resulted in companies such as Texas Instruments, Maxim and Linear Technology generating 'hundreds (sometimes thousands) of new products during the course of a single year.'
For analog IC engineers, the report is good news, as Gartner emphasises that analog semiconductor revenue will continue to require a large and versatile engineering staff to support a steady stream of newly upgraded products. "Thus," the analyst firm concludes, "the movement of analog engineers, both individually and as teams, is a leading indicator of product revenue shifts." The company advises investors to monitor analog engineering hires for a long-term indicator of new-product revenue.
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