<p>If we win the DSP socket,” Chew said, it's my birthright to win the power-management sockets.” He estimated that TI can sell 80 cents to $2.50 worth of analog components for every $1 of DSPs.</p>


More information about the consortium is available at

SAN FRANCISCO — Optimism is flowing here at Semicon West, the world's largest trade show for semiconductor production equipment, materials and software. With chip makers scrambling to expand their plants worldwide, organizers of the annual event released a revised outlook for semiconductor capital spending to what is now a conservative 36% growth forecast for 2000, but more than double the projection at the start of this year.

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A mid-year poll conducted by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) shows growth in production tool sales expected to reach $34.5 billion in 2000, followed by a 23% increase to $43.0 billion in 2001. In 1999, semiconductor equipment sales were stronger than originally forecast, coming in at $25.5 billion, an increase of 18.4% from the depressed market conditions in 1998, when worldwide revenues were only $21.5 billion, said SEMI.

The release of a more bullish mid-year SEMI Consensus Forecast comes at a time when industry analysts are also hiking their projections for capital equipment spending to as much as 70% over 1999 (see July 6 story). While this year is much stronger than anyone originally expected, some market observers are now predicting the likelihood of a slump in chip markets during 2002, partly because of overspending on new production capacity.

But semiconductor capital equipment vendors are not being bothered by the prospects of slower growth in several years, and many are expanding their offerings for the next-generation 300-mm fabs. Applied Materials Inc., for example, rolled out 21 new tools for 300-mm wafer processing at the show on Monday (see July 10 story).

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The promise of a major ramp-up in semiconductor manufacturing in 2000 is being realized, which is in turn fueling demand for added capacity,” said Stanley Myers, president and CEO of the SEMI trade group, which hosts the Semicon West event in San Francisco and San Jose this week. New manufacturing technologies, including the much-anticipated transition to 300-mm wafers and the introduction of 0.15- and 0.13-micron chip designs, are also giving a boost to the current upturn.”

By product category, SEMI's mid-year Consensus Forecast shows sales of wafer process equipment rising almost 40% to $23.5 billion in 2000 from $16.8 billion in 1999. Sales of assembly and packaging equipment are expected to increase to $2.4 billion, up 21.5% from $2.0 billion in sales in 1999. Test equipment sales should reach $7.0 billion in 2000, up 35.5% from the $5.2 billion sold in 1999, according to the San Jose-based trade group.

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It sounds like something for almost nothing, and it is: the apparently free power” you can get from energy harvesting and scavenging power subsystems. The reality is that cost-effective and effective harvesting is a tough challenge.

But like all new technologies, sometimes getting real traction and success is elusive, and it is not helped by the over-enthusiastic hype of promoters, as in whatever your problem, 'x' will solve it and make everything wonderful.” Still, energy harvesting may be at a point where it has enough of the pieces you need to make it successful where it makes legitimate sense.

George Cwynar, Mosaid's president and chief executive, told EBN last week the company has 81 fundamental patents on DRAM core technology. We intend to generate a [royalty] revenue stream from these basic patents, just as Texas Instruments Inc. did on its fundamental patents,” he said.

Mosaid has developed a product line of content-addressable memory chips for network servers, as well as several communication ICs. Indeed, the Mosaid products open the possibility of cross-licensing agreements with DRAM producers-an option not available to Rambus, which is solely an intellectual-property provider.

The Mosaid licensing campaign has been under way for the past 16 months, but has gone on essentially without industry comment. Now, however, with Rambus' actions undergoing careful scrutiny, Mosaid's campaign is drawing more attention as well.

Hitachi Ltd. last week became the latest DRAM maker to agree to a lump-sum payment and quarterly royalties to gain Mosaid's patents for DRAM core technology. Fujitsu Ltd., NEC Corp., and Toshiba Corp. have already taken out licenses.

In response to the delay, first disclosed last week, S3 chief executive Ken Potashner said in a statement that We believe that the new Taiwan government should be taking positions supporting high-tech partnerships between Taiwan and global corporations, and we hope that the new Taiwan government will not cause harm to U.S. or international corporations.”

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