Custom MMIC Begins New Chapter As Part of Qorvo
Q&A with Roger Hall, GM of Qorvo's High Performance Solutions, and Paul Blount, founder of Custom MMIC
With Qorvo completing the acquisition of Custom MMIC, Microwave Journal wanted to understand how Custom MMIC will merge into Qorvo. Roger Hall, general manager of Qorvo’s High Performance Solutions (HPS) business, and Paul Blount, the founder of Custom MMIC, graciously responded to our questions:
Roger, how does Custom MMIC fit into Qorvo's strategy?
The Custom MMIC acquisition aligns well with Qorvo’s strategy to focus on core growth in the defense market and to drive technology leadership by expanding our product portfolio to enable further integration into modules. It also expands our mmWave skill-set by leveraging a heritage of high frequency capability in New England.
Paul, what were the factors leading to the decision to be acquired by Qorvo?
Custom MMIC has always worked closely with Qorvo to leverage their world-class manufacturing processes. Many of our high performance MMIC devices utilize Qorvo’s processes to achieve peak performance.
We saw this as an opportunity to gain access to Qorvo’s global manufacturing might and in-house design resources, to help complement our innovative design processes and product portfolio. It was just a natural fit from a design and manufacturing perspective to combine our teams to expand our product portfolios and maximize our collective opportunities.
How will Custom MMIC be integrated, organizationally, into Qorvo?
Roger Hall (RH): Custom MMIC will be incorporated into Qorvo’s HPS within Infrastructure and Defense Products (IDP). As part of IDP, Custom MMIC will gain access to Qorvo’s 5G market channels, while we will continue to expand its mmWave capabilities for products used in defense phased array and AESA radars, electronic warfare, satellite communications, wireless backhaul and microwave test equipment.
Paul, what is your new role as part of Qorvo?
As a result of the acquisition, I will assume the role of design engineering director supporting the HPS business unit.
Custom MMIC has a strong commitment to the defense and space markets. Any change in market focus as part of Qorvo?
RH: This acquisition aligns with Qorvo’s legacy 40-year commitment to the defense and space markets. We expect to expand our partner heritage with the government and the primes with expanded GaN and GaAs products.
Custom MMIC has a catalog nearing 200 MMICs, representing various circuit functions and process technologies — including some “equivalent” products fabbed by two different foundries. Will these products remain supported, and what will be the focus of new product development?
Paul Blount: As a fabless company, Custom MMIC prided ourselves on developing a dual-source supplier for various products. Now that we have been acquired by Qorvo and have access to their full array of manufacturing assets from around the globe, there is less of a need to dual-source. We will continue to monitor industry semiconductor processes, both internal and external, and determine what is the best for our products, customers and the markets we support.
Custom MMIC recently doubled its office and lab space in Chelmsford. How will this site be used, given that Qorvo has a design center about four miles away?
RH: We don’t anticipate any immediate changes. But as part of normal business processes, we will optimize our locations to support customer and market needs. We value the mmWave heritage that exists in New England and the growth this brings to our existing presence.
What business functions will remain resident in Chelmsford and which will Qorvo assume?
RH: We intend to leverage the strengths of both organizations to support our customers.
Summarizing, for the customers of Custom MMIC, what will change and what will remain the same?
PB: We expect our aerospace and defense products to be better served.
RH: Qorvo is a company known for solving our customers’ most difficult challenges. We believe that Custom MMIC’s best-in-class die and packaged components augment our portfolio of power amplifiers to enable a new class of multi-chip modules that will deliver breakthrough performance in defense, aerospace and commercial applications.