Too bad that Novellus screwed up the SpeedFam acquisition as at the time they had the "best" CMP platform. That would have completed the suite of process tools for the combined Lam-Novellus org as Dean accurately observes.
This will generate very fun dialogue during next month's annual SEMI ISS program
Since Dean missed the significance of the AMD Athlon when it was overtaking the clock limited Pentium 3, I posit here he misses that too many fab customers buy Applied Materials solutions just because it is from a company of Applied Materials size.
TEL does not have the dynamism of any of these firms, in fact regularly lags on all kinds of execution metrics ( defensive postures ).
A merger of Lam and Novellus is great (they both have silicon valley genes that have driven the industry), yet a merger can falter if teamwork is not fostered properly (not hard to do well despite Dean's second guessing with FUD), yet a merger also can win big for the combined firm with gaining a critical mass that is impossible to possess if they operate independently without merging.
My take is the merger is a good opportunity for the combined firm to offer solutions to customers that will have greater appeal to the user base, from better support, better R&D and greater economies of scale.
As prior long ago, - ignoring actual customer dynamics can lead to unjustified disparagement of a new opportunity - whether it was the heydey for AMD's competitive revival, or here the opportunity of synergy of a larger more competitive combined Lam/Novellus.
They can mess up the opportunity as Dean emphasizes, yet my impression is they have every motivation to make a good go of it, and succeed to challenge AMAT where prior not taken seriously as independents due to the size of AMAT.
Consulting firms are only as good as their comprehension of product and customer dynamics, with no bearing of influence by client relationships.
I vote for Lam and Novellus combined to experience a good revival of impressive growth, far greater than Mr. Freeman seems to disparage.
And I am a long time process engineer, hands on a predicted the success of the early Athlon that Dean disparaged for some unknown reasons long ago.