REL has been trying to sell RMC since the past 6 months. Concerning the IP and the actual product, as Heikki (SVP, Wireless Modem, RMC) says, it will be a crime against humanity if that gets wasted. Someone will definitely buy it partly, if not the workforce.
As to why nothing has be sold so far, only REL can answer that and we are many who want to know it.
Scud, I hear you. For those engineers who have truly worked hard and delivered the goods, it is not just inexplicable but unacceptable to see their efforts unnoticed, unappreciated and undervalued.
It is unfair for RMC employees to be described as "bloated." But I am pretty sure that's how the company management often describes the nature of business to save their incompetence.
Like I asked before, where was the company manegent when this was all happening?
More significantly, where will RMC's solution -- already certified by AT&T and NTT docomo -- and its IP go?
Junko, as an RMC employee, I completely agree with GeeKv2's comments. We find this decision totally inexplicable. The supply lines have been cut just when the products are well and truly ready for the big boys in the industry.
RMC's modem had actually negotiated the minefield of certifications when this happened. The product is certified by both ATT and NTT DoCoMo (http://low-powerdesign.com/strauss/).
Also, the RMC solution was an integrated single chip triple mode solution (Modem + APE in one SoC and a triple mode RFIC). For such a product, I believe 2000 employees does not sound too bloated.
It might have been inevitable. If your modem isn't used by Apple or Samsung, then unless it's used by the next 4 or 5 biggest guys, it's hard to imagine that the huge ongoing investment makes business sense.
The thing that has baffled everyone is the fact that Renesas is pulling the plug right at the time when the labour of 7 years of hard work is finally beginning to pay off.
The problem as I see for Renesas Elec is that it will take another year until the mobile division becomes profitable. They just cannot afford the running costs until then. With the bail out funding coming from the government, they have been forced to take this step much in the same way the Greek government is firing its employees.
Its hard to imagine that this company could have come even this far if it was an independant startup. Bear in mind that it takes several years of R&D to make a product that can reach a consumer's hands. The funding required for it is staggering. Renesas bought this from Nokia who already had invested for 5 years so practically, they have done only about 40% of the work. Making a triple mode modem integrated with an application processor is one hell of a job.
Back when Infineon sold its modem to Intel, the reason was simple. They could not afford the R&D to compete in future and took the right decision to sell it. Intel is pumping money into R&D and will surely succeed.
Thanks for your correction in regards to the geographical breakdown of the Finnish entity' employees.
I am glad you spoke out as an RMC employee. Your description of RMC -- in terms of where things are at this point for design wins -- gives a much fuller view.
I do recall reporting on RMC's ambition to take on Qualcomm on several occasions in the past.
The sad part of the whole thing is that RMC was born as a wholly owned subsidiary of deeply troubled Japanese chip giant Renesas.
GeeKv2, had RMC been an independent startup, do you think it could have survived?
As an RMC employee, let me point out a few things in this article. Firstly, its not 1100 people from Finland that are laid off, rather its 800. Then there are 200 in UK and 100 in Denmark thus 1100 under the Finnish entity.
Second, RMC concentrated on the mid-tier sector and there are LTE design wins in that region with phones expected to come out next month which bring LTE Cat4 phone prices down to $300-$400. How they will work out now is still unknown. Thats not so bad considering a company like Broadcom has been operating profitably in that sector and the competition is relatively scarce, atleast for LTE.
Third, a workforce of under 2000 is virtually unheard of in this industry, its not at all bloated. I would rather say its bordering on anorexic. The likes of Qualcomm and Intel have around 5000. There is a startup like culture in RMC meaning that everyone is expected to do everything, no matter what. This generated a lot of flexibility in the workforce and I see that as a strength.
I agree that not having a China strategy was bad but the ambitious Japanese plan was to take on Qualcomm in the global market; flawed as it was, here we are now.
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