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 February 6

February 9, 2015

Here are the news items that caught my eye last week. It was another busy week.

CommScope is acquiring TE Connectivity's telecom, enterprise and wireless business — called BNS — for $3 billion in cash, which is 1.6 x last fiscal year's revenue. It's a nice move for CommScope, but I'm not sure why TE Connectivity wanted to shed the business.

Cree released a 3.5 GHz asymmetric Doherty reference design for small cells. The GaN PA is paired with a Xilinx processor for crest factor reduction (CFR) and digital predistortion (DPD).

The U.S. Navy is funding Custom MMIC to develop 5 to 6 GHz GaN PAs, with > 20 W output, and LNAs, with < 1 dB NF, for a periscope detecting phased array radar.

Intel is acquiring Lantiq, a Munich-based semiconductor company. The move arguably strengthens Intel's strategy for the “connected home.”

Speaking of Intel, EJL Wireless Research recommends moves Intel should make to strengthen their mobile strategy.

MACOM reported quarterly revenue for fiscal Q1: $114.9 million, which was flat sequentially and up 36.5% from the prior year's quarter. 100G optical revenue grew 35% sequentially. During the earnings call, CEO John Croteau updated analysts on their low-cost GaN strategy.

MACOM is offering 4.5 million shares of common stock to pay down debt and for “general corporate purposes.” An additional 2 million shares are being offered by John Ocampo, MACOM’s majority stockholder and chairman of the board, and other major shareholders.

NXP reported 69% growth in base station PAs in 2014. CEO Rick Clemmer said their gains in market share are coming from regions other than China. Compare this with Freescale's 57% growth in RF, which seems to have been fueled more by China.

Pasternack introduced new families of high-rel electromechanical relay switches, with 2 to 10 million life cycles. The products are in stock.

Peregrine Semi released a 40 GHz SPDT silicon on sapphire switch, with 3.1 dB loss, 39 dB isolation, and 28 dBm input P1dB at 35 GHz.

Qorvo announced plans to repurchase $200 million in stock to reduce dilution from employee equity awards and the employee stock purchase program.

Skyworks is ramping products for streaming media applications at Roku, Google, Amazon and Samsung. The products range from a Zigbee PA to Wi-Fi front-ends.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler briefed commissioners on his proposed approach to net neutrality, amidst the cacophony of pro and con reactions. NPR provided a succinct summary of Wheeler's thinking and the concerns of opponents.

With the completion of the AWS-3 auction, one FCC commissioner questions how Dish can claim a $3 billion “small business” discount. The Wall Street Journal reports that Ajit Pai, one of two Republicans on the five-member commission, “says such a lucrative break to a company as large as Dish 'makes a mockery' of the small-business discount program.”

After years of struggles, Radio Shack — the go-to store for electronics hobbyists — filed for bankruptcy. Read The Wall Street Journal's memorial and autopsy.

China ended 2014 with some 649 million Internet users, with 86% accessing the net via mobile. Instant messaging was the top app. Doug Young analyzed the data in his Young's China Business blog.

Last item: Many microwave companies (perhaps most?) are run by a technical entrepreneur who is compelled by a vision of solving a challenging problem. Although Bijan Sabet, a partner at Spark Capital, is writing about start-ups in an adjacent industry, I think his philosophy fits: The role of the product founder/ceo.

Have a good week.

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