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Spansion advances into automotive with acquired business

Posted: 08 May 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Spansion  flash  MCU  power management 

Spansion Inc. is jumping headlong into the automotive battlefield, armed with a combination of flash, power management, and microcontroller in its portfolio.

Synergy, or integration, is no longer the stated goal behind Spansion's acquisition last summer of Fujitsu Semiconductor's MCU and analogue businesses. As demonstrated in its first-quarter results, Spansion is now scoring design wins globally, especially in the automotive and industrial sectors. "We are making significant progress with our acquired product lines," said John Kispert, CEO of Spansion, during the financial call Tuesday, May 6.

Spansion, for the first quarter ended March 2014, reported net sales of $311.8 million, a 64 per cent increase compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Record design wins

Kispert told EE Times that his company achieved "record design wins" in the March quarter. Without naming names, he talked about "a number of major design wins with Tier 1 customers" outside of Japan. The company gained new customers and design wins in the US automotive market where Spansion historically has had little exposure. Spansion performed similarly in Korea and Europe.

The company is increasing software and IP content in its chips in a drive to offer more differentiated solutions.

Spansion is expanding its microcontroller business worldwide, with the company having design and manufacturing centres in Malaysia and another manufacturing facility in Thailand, among others. The expansion includes 8bit, 16bit, and 32bit proprietary and 32bit ARM-based microcontrollers. The company is also pushing integrated solutions that combine embedded flash technology, software, middleware, security, and human/machine interface capabilities. "Our customers are accepting the new direction and are excited about our roadmap," said Kispert.

In the second quarter (ending June this year), Spansion plans to roll out "close to 20 new products"—including MCU, analogue, and flash, said Kispert.

In addition to new products from each of the flash, MCU, and analogue product lines, Spansion expects to launch SoCs integrating low-power and no-wire solutions for automotive and industrial applications. While refraining from pre-announcing any specific products, Kispert reiterated that the company's focus is in driving top-line growth and accelerating introduction of new products.

Asked about the company's strategy for the second quarter, Kispert laid out plans for further investment in the company's software organisation, and focus on "overall solution enablement." Through the Fujitsu acquisition, Kispert said, Spansion added 250 software engineers. "It is a nice software organisation, and we plan to invest more there," with a plan for the group's expansion worldwide.

Asked about what he means by "overall solution enablement," the CEO explained that the company is offering "boards, functions, and starter kits for each application."


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