"The only way to save Europe is to be just behind Intel and to put everyone under the same banner, so as to avoid duplication," stated Borel. "We need to have the same ambition as Intel, and, with a unique management, we would be able to develop a solution that would equal Intel's Merom processor."
Intel Corp. released its Merom processor as part of its Core 2 Duo family of chips in July 2006. Merom became Intel's premier line of mobile processors, with mostly the same features as Conroe, but with more emphasis on low power consumption to enhance notebook battery life.
Regarding the Merom processor, Borel said it is an early example of what a process-device and design optimized chip can bring in terms of overall performances including digital, analog, low power, error correction, disable non used functions, thermal control, speed debug and test functions.
Borel said he believes Europe can establish an "Intel-like" company that would result from the consolidation of Europe's existing players with some boundary conditions. A European chip company would have close connections to system houses, such as Nokia and Bosch, due to past Medea+ research, as well as more formalized links with large European research centers, such as CEA-Leti, IMEC and Fraunhofer, Borel said.
Among other conditions would be the sharing of process technologies, libraries, design developments and the complete sharing of production facilities, addressing the detailed technology needs of European applications as a priority.
"I believe in this convergence, which will bring new opportunities to create jobs, to save our universities and our research base," said Borel. "We only need to have Nicolas [Sarkozy], Angela [Merkel], Giorgio [Napolitano] to take the right decision," he said referring to the presidents of France, Germany and Italy, respectively.
"This decision can come from neither the companies nor from the European authorities. They have to get in the same boat and row together, but the problem is that individual member states have always preferred to promote their own national champions."
According to Borel, the time has come to stop being chauvinistic and start thinking of Europe as a whole. "The time of the Gauls or of the Romans is over. We should all start working together and establish a European champion," he asserted.
Questioned about the management structure of a European chip company, Borel said there would have to be one senior manager for fabs, one for IC design and one for R&D activities. All three senior managers would work for a single entity and report to a business oriented CEO.
"At that level, we do not need a technologist but a businessman that would ensure and maintain technical and industrial autonomy in the area of low-cost complex systems," he added.
Borel said he wanted his proposal to raise the alarm.
"We need to defend this [convergence] idea. It is the same as when we merged Thomson and SGS." Borel said when faced by an economic challenge before, the merger of Thomson and SGS had worked well and so Europe should not hesitate to use consolidation again.
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