Call me an optimist. Despite the current recession and concern about business prospects for at least the first half of 2009, I believe the microwave industry will persevere and become stronger. The proliferation of communication systems in our personal and professional lives gives me confidence that the demand for affordable fixed and mobile bandwidth will be with us for some time. Apparently, analysts looking at a number of wireless markets agree (see the January MWJ blog), which should help a segment of the industry. Defense spending will undoubtedly help some more. Yet, it is not a surprise that the current global economy has thrown many companies into a state of caution, reducing spending by significant levels.

Predictably, winners will be the manufacturers whose products help save money or are the “enabling technologies” to enter new markets. Replace a more expensive part or reduce the bill of materials through integration and the business could be yours. Cutting costs is a familiar means to success—accelerated for the times we live in. Our industry understands that smart investments in research yields innovations that provide the market with more for less (make sure your marketing department remembers to get the word out). But make no mistake, in the immediate future we may all be working harder for a smaller piece of the pie.

Innovation defines this month’s lead story, which focuses on the state-of-the-art in multi-chip devices known as System-on-Package (SoP). This technology allows manufacturers to produce the highly integrated devices touted by the analyst predicting a brighter economic future. The Journal spoke to leaders in advanced package research, RF chip/module manufacturers, design engineers, CAD and EDA application engineers, and product managers. From these many sources, we have compiled an insider’s view of System-on-Package technology in 2009 and the latest in design flow support.

The contributors to this story were asked to comment on specific areas of the SoP engineering problem from their unique perspectives. From the Packaging Research Center at Georgia Tech, we received input from Venky Sundaram, Raj Pulugurtha, Rao Tummala and Mahadevan Iyer. From Kevin Walsh and Ben Thomas at RFMD, we received information on that company’s microshield technology as well as insight on driving factors in the multi-chip market (also thanks to Irma Swain and Alston Skinner). On chip/package co-design we talked with Per Viklund of Mentor Graphics (with help from Suzanne Graham and the Mentor Graphics PR team), How-Siang Yap and Hee-Soo Lee from Agilent (with help from Lisa Hebert and Georgia Marszalek) and Mike Heimlich from AWR (with help from Sherry Hess). Their complete responses to our questions can be found this month on the Microwave Journal web site. Thank you all.

The articles appearing in the Journal this and every month reflect the innumerable technical accomplishments that take place within our community. This is how the industry has survived tough times in the past and it is how I suspect we will survive and prosper in 2009. But hey, I’m an optimist.