@Junko: one question: most hybrids don't have a key to start the engine (you press the brake and hit a button on the dash to start!), so what does that do to NXP's market? The smart cars of the near future will most likely dispense with old fashioned keys and use electronic key pads (which many already have) for access and engine operation.
The energy-metering IC is rapidly shaping up to be a saturated market and consolidations are beginning already (Teridian acquisition by Maxim six months ago). Even the market analysts are catching up with buzzwords like EnergySOC, not just us geeeks! I don't know what Silver Spring Networks has in its plans, or for that matter, Cisco, all of whom are looking for a stronger presence in the smart energy market.
I also have to agree with @Frank Eory, there are tonnes of opportunities in the 'middle'.
Dr. MP Divakar
I guess they didn't have a lot of options, but now they'll be up against Texas Instruments, saddled with $4B in debt, little or no DSP capability, and they've hollowed out the expertise in what they were best known for - video. Good luck!
I agree. And yet, I keep wondering who would have the staying power and money to be "the company that can offer both the smart analog IC and the big chip in the middle," as you described.
NXP had every intention to be THAT company and found the strategy unsustainable.
Expect more analog and mixed-signal companies to be primed to get picked up by those companies who do the big chip in the middle.
I like and totally agree with Noonen's comment that "the future of analog is not just analog."
Analog -- particularly sensors -- requires digital processing to make useful outputs. For example, integrating a magnetometer with a 32-bit micro to make a standalone e-compass with processor-friendly outputs. Some companies are doing stuff like that.
When it's all said and done, there is still a "big chip in the middle" in any complex system, and the company that can offer both the smart analog IC and the big chip in the middle has a distinct advantage in offering total system solutions to customers.
Well written report! Reading through the article, I was not bored either :). The strategy of NXP is clearly understood from this article. Apart from what is said, I think many of the system designers would agree that products offered by NXP carry a higher level of quality & reliability compared to some of its peers in the market. They should continue to carry this forward.