Smart Meter System On a Chip: The Pros and Cons

Smart meters, smart thermostats, smart appliances and other smart grid devices have lots and lots of chips in them. Putting all those functions together in one system-on-a-chip can save lots of money and time spent on integration — if they give device makers the right combo.

Europe’s Chip Firms Don’t Need a Ménage à Trois

A former executive at French semiconductor firm ST Microelectronics is proposing a three-way merger of Europe’s three largest semiconductor companies: ST Micro of France, NXP of the Netherlands and Germany’s Infineon. But while it underscores many of the problems facing the chip industry — and makes for fun headlines! — the proposal is a ludicrous one.

Geographically-based culture differences aside, the three firms don’t need to combine — they need to focus. And their respective actions over the past few years indicate that’s just what they’re trying to do. In an effort to focus on its core markets, Infineon back in 2006 spun out its memory division, then last week it sold its hard disk drive division to LSI. In the meantime, NXP last year exited the VoIP market to focus more closely on six segments, among them consumer electronics, automobiles and cell phones.

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