Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor
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Gary Lerude

Gary Lerude is the Technical Editor of Microwave Journal. Previously, he spent his career as a “midwife” aiding the growth of the compound semiconductor industry, from device to application, from defense to commercial. He spent 19 years at Texas Instruments, 11 years at MACOM and six years with TriQuint. Gary holds a bachelor’s in EE, a master’s in systems engineering and an engineers degree (ABD) in EE.

Weekly Report

For the week ending November 10, 2017

November 12, 2017

11/13/17 Update: According to Reuters, Qualcomm's board has rejected Broadcom's offer, saying it “dramatically” undervalues Qualcomm.

Here’s a summary of the industry news I found worth noting last week.

Companies and Products

BAE Systems received a $40 million order to supply EW sensor technology for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), a precision-guided, stealth missile capable of semi-autonomously detecting and identifying targeted enemy ships. LRASM is an upgrade to Harpoon, which was introduced in 1977.

Broadcom offered to buy Qualcomm for $70 per share, in a deal valued at $130 billion — which would be the largest in the semiconductor industry if it is consummated. Broadcom said the offer is the same whether or not Qualcomm completes the proposed acquisition of NXP. So far, Qualcomm's board has been mum.

Custom MMIC introduced three surface-mount mixers with overlapping RF and LO frequencies spanning 6 to 26 GHz. Custom MMIC says the CMD253C3, CMD254C3 and CMD255C3 mixers have low conversion loss, high IP3, high isolation and wide IF bandwidth.

Hughes Network Systems received a $190 million contract from OneWeb to build the ground network system for OneWeb's 900 LEO satellite constellation. This contract extends the system development agreement established between the companies in June 2015, raising the cumulative value to $300 million.

Keysight has largely reoccupied its Santa Rosa headquarters, although cleaning and restoration continue and not all employees are back at the site. The company affirmed its prior financial guidance for fiscal Q4 of 2017, indicating the fire did not materially affect operations.

In a ceremony tied to President Trump's visit to China, Qualcomm signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chinese cell phone manufacturers Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo. The MOU encompasses the purchase of $12 billion in Qualcomm components over the next three years.

Remcom released an update to the Wireless InSite® radio propagation software, enhancing analysis capabilities for LTE, WiMAX, LTE and Wi-Fi (802.11n and ac) protocols. The software simulates a site such as a home and calculates the bit error rate (BER) and data throughput.

Fabless filter start-up Resonant announced a fourth SAW foundry as a manufacturing partner for its filter designs. In a press release, the company described the foundry as a “leading pure play GaAs foundry … part of a new business group of a Tier 1 CMOS fab company.” Resonant also reported Q3 financial performance, with revenue of $106,000, a net loss of $4.2 million and $13.5 million in cash at the end of the quarter. Read more details.

Rohde & Schwarz announced an RF interference locator incorporating a real-time FFT receiver. The unit covers 600 MHz to 6 GHz and detects emissions as short as 20 ns with 100 percent probability of intercept (with sufficient signal level).

Skyworks reported fiscal Q4 financial results: revenue grew 18 percent year-over-year to $985 million, with revenue from the broad markets segment reaching $250 million for the first time. Full-year revenue was $3.65 billion, up 11 percent year-over-year. The company’s growth during the quarter was fueled by broad markets and smartphone volume at Apple, Samsung and Chinese suppliers.

The long rumored, on and off investment bankers' dream of a Sprint/T-Mobile merger is officially off, according to the two companies. Masayoshi Son, chairman of Sprint, said the issue of control undermined the merger. “If we gave up control of Sprint, in five or 10 years, we would regret it. We want to maximize profit [in Sprint] while maintaining control.”

Fueled by seasonal smartphone production, WIN Semiconductors reported 24 percent year-over-year growth in fiscal Q3, to approximately $146 million. Mobile phone volume contributed between 40 and 45 percent of total revenue, according to the company. Fab utilization ran 95 percent.

Markets and Technology

Semiconductor Technology — Researchers at Chalmers University developed a graphene-based FET on a plastic substrate that can detect THz signals in the range of 330 to 500 GHz. Their research was published in Applied Physics Letters.

Cellular and 5GIDC reported that global smartphone shipments grew 2.7 percent year-over-year in calendar Q3 to 373 million units. Xiaomi and Samsung led the gains, with Xiaomi doubling shipments year-over-year. Samsung retained the market share lead, at 22 percent, followed by Apple, at 13 percent. IDC’s summary contains much data and analysis. Doug Young, author of Young’s China Business blog, parsed the numbers and shares a China perspective about Apple and the performance of the Chinese manufacturers.

IFIXIT opened the iPhone X and found ICs and modules from Broadcom (AFEM-8072, MMMB PA module and BCM59355 wireless charging controller), NXP (80V18 PN80V NFC controller module), Qualcomm (WTR5975 LTE transceiver, MDM9655 Snapdragon X16 LTE modem and PMD9655 PMIC), Skyworks (78140-22 PA, SKY77366-17 PA, S770 6662 and 3760 5418 1736) and Apple/USI (170821 339S00397 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module). Where’s Qorvo?

In this video interview with Mobile World Live, Nokia executive Markus Borchert assessed Europe's 5G position, noting that country fragmentation and limited investment are hampering the EU's competitiveness.

Autonomous Driving — In case you weren’t paying attention at the dawn of self-driving vehicles, here’s an interesting backstory: how DARPA's audacious Grand Challenge in 2004 inspired a vision of self-driving cars — even though the most successful vehicle in the first race traveled only 7.5 miles of the 142-mile desert course before getting hung up on a berm. Listen to the story of the Carnegie Mellon entry on the StartUp podcast and read DARPA’s reflection ten years later, in 2014.


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