<p>Next, if direct access only” is the bane of online purchasing, the situation is worse in a second major area of activity: business intelligence. The winners and losers in b2b will soon be separated depending on how they use their enterprise data to understand themselves. Business-intelligence programs-which decision-makers have used since the '90s to better understand how their businesses are doing in sales, marketing, finance, and human resources -are becoming even more important to those transforming themselves into e-businesses.</p>

Many of those changes are part of the emergence of a complex, geographically dispersed but well-connected IMC world that converges on the Internet and related technologies, such as Internet-based device management and quality-of-service for deterministic concurrent transport of voice, video and data. IMC devices will be remotely managed with Web-based tools. For example, a production line in Detroit could be managed via remote access in Munich. Or, in case of emergency, an alarm could be sent directly to the cellular phone (or pager, or Web tablet) of the production manager on duty. For developers and vendors, this new world of networked IMC technologies will require shifting where efforts are placed, since manufacturers will require assistance in bridging the gap between what exists today and what will be needed to support the converged network.

The industry is on allocation for many components, inventory is considered low across diverse product lines, demand is strong and supply tight, foundries are producing at full capacity and we are entering the seasonally stronger back-to-school third quarter. So, why is pricing relatively muted?

Although Intel reported average selling price for its microprocessors was slightly up sequentially,” pricing across the industry are generally not increasing, which would have been the norm in a capacity-constrained market.


As more chip vendors and equipment makers announce results in coming weeks, it will become even more obvious that the industry is, as usual, doing its best to defy the laws of economics as rising demand in a supply constrained environment have not translated into higher pricing.

Perhaps there are good reasons behind this anomaly. We will find out, as executives talk about their experience in coming weeks.


For anyone wondering why I believe this is a self-mutilating market, I have prepared a table that shows industry executives know or should know something is wrong with the current market environment.


While Intel’s performance is commendable it is simultaneously clear the company’s second quarter year-over-year growth is unsustainable. It is unlikely there is enough demand in the market currently to sustain another 34 percent sales increase for the third and subsequent quarters.

Eventually, the torrid growth will slow down, get reversed and turn negative. Soon, the industry will be staring at another recession that could be as deep as the upswing has been high. Is it really that unreasonable to expect predictable growth rather than the chronic sharp market declines and giddy revivals the industry has gotten used to?

The combination of technologies will lead to a new level of performance and flexibility in the semiconductor market,” said Wim Roelandts, president and chief executive of Xilinx, San Jose. IBM's process technology is the most advanced in the industry, and the PowerPC architecture has become the standard in communications, enabling us to deliver the highest performance and density products into the market at the leading edge of technology.”

As part of the deal, IBM will become a major foundry for Xilinx's high-end chips-with or without PowerPC cores-with initial production using IBM's 0.13-micron process with copper interconnects.

Beyond the initial terms of the agreement, however, the opportunities are wide open,” Roelandts said.

By the time Xilinx is ready to detail products resulting from the alliance, expected later this year, the relationship may encompass other key IP. In an interview, Roelandts said discussions continue toward licensing other IBM hard” cores that are designed to attach to its CoreConnect system-on-a-chip peripheral bus.

We may be licensing IBM's hard or soft cores, developing our own soft cores, or making the bus available to customers to develop their own compatible cores,” he said.


Apple’s recent troubles raise questions about who exactly is empowered to stop-ship when a product doesn’t conform to design requirements

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