Good point Peter, wanting to sell and being able to sell are different things...but in business, real estate or life in general at the end it boils down just to money...how much are they asking for that money losing business?
Europeans, unfortunately, cannot business decision in a decisive and convincing manner. This behaviour appears to be very consistent over the past many years, hence STM / Infineon / NXP keep becoming smaller, smaller, .... If nothing drastic happens in the opposite way, STM could eventually goes the way of Renesas, i.e. dinosaur. In many ways, they are very similar, both a combination of many companies.
Once ST-E is left on its own to fight for survival, it may go to Samsung / TSMC / SMIC or anyone who can offer cheaper foundry services than the 28nm FDSOI. In particular, what is STM's roadmap for FDSOI beyond 28nm? AP with integrated multi-mode modem cannot practically survive for long on 28nm! Given that STM is NOT #1 in microcontroller market share, it won't be able to afford to keep the 28nm FDSOI especially if ST-E goes for other foundries because of cost reason (though a distinct possibility at the moment, one can never tell when and if it happens).
It appears that, at the end, semiconductor companies from US, Korea, and China/Taiwan could be the only ones left standing.
So why did (BST) he tell announce a deadline? Maybe to secure thousand's people job for a while not having yet an alternative. In such deep crisis moment we should sometime start thinking also about people rather than just financials.
I don't disagree that financials should be tempered with an awareness of social impact. But no business can fly in the face of the financial imperatives over the long term. The risk is that moving slowly may preserve some jobs in the short-term but put many more jobs in jeopardy in the longer term.
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