Mergers are marking the chip industry's maturity as companies get bigger to survive harsher times ahead, Sanghi said.
"Three years ago you wouldn't have forecasted Texas Instruments would buy National, and Avago and LSI would merge. Who would have thought Fujitsu's semiconductor group would be no more -- now part of Spansion -- or that Sanyo would not be making chips? It's all a sign there's not enough growth."
Mergers won't guarantee survival, Sanghi said, pointing to some archrivals.
"MCUs don't consolidate that well if their code base is different, because there's no synergy -- you have to provide separate tool chains, reference design, app notes, and so on" for each architecture.
"That's the mistake Renesas made," he added, pointing to Japan's MCU microcontroller giant. "They combined Hitachi and Mitsubishi and made a bigger boat anchor, and then added NEC, and they are still losing money."
Despite tough times, Sanghi said he still feels satisfaction finding ways to grow his $1.5 billion company.
"When a customer can't get a price reduction, it comes up the flag pole, and I have to say no. When employees can't get a raise, it comes back to me. There's enormous pressure on semiconductor CEOs today from all stakeholders, including community services looking for donations and sponsorships.
"I've been at it for 24 years, and it's my last job -- at 58 I can do it for a few more years. My wife would like me to quit yesterday, but it's still fun," he said, citing an historically high stock price and reports on expanding market share and user satisfaction. "Those are the satisfaction points."
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