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Viewpoint Index

January 19, 2017

VIEWPOINT 2017: Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President, MATECH
VIEWPOINT 2017: Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President, MATECH
Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President, MATECH
Something is different. It used to be that if you turned the crank; spent the money, did the homework; every year and a half or so, you had the rightful expectation of making some decent money.

The markets were there and if you were first with the new the generation, your clients were waiting to buy into the new product which offered clear X, Y, and Z improvements over its predecessor.

True, a lot of this steady improvement in functionality and reduction in cost was driven by the ability of making things smaller and cheaper every cycle. That party has ended. Today, and for the first time ever, the new nodes are more expensive than their immediate predecessors.

So, how is the industry going to entice the consumer to buy their new device? Why would a consumer spend his or her hard earned money on a marginally--and arguably--improved device?

This apparent dead-end obviously impacts the ability of a company to grow. In fact, that is why the rate of mergers and acquisitions has almost quintupled over the past couple of years. If companies want to show growth, but cannot sell more of what they make, they buy people that are already selling their goods--they buy revenue. Unfortunately, this leaves us with a market of the same size but with fewer players. Not the best situation.

So, what to do--what's next? Where is growth in the industry going to come from? 3D integration, SOIC, and the like provide an interim answer to "what am I going to sell to my customers this year?" but no more than that. The next trail to blaze is beyond the current end-of-road, and we do not know what it is.

Would memristors be it? Self-driving cars? What about AI? We do not know. In any event, any of these new areas would take, even with an optimistic eye, a few more years to start becoming real drivers of the industry. We need to find a way around the tyranny of the laws of physics and figure out a new way to increase functionality and reduce cost at (or close to) the rates that Moore's Law got us accustomed to.

The scouts are over the ridge and we are waiting for word of where to pick up the trail ahead. It is apparent we are at the end of a long, successful run waiting for "the next big thing." In the meantime, hang on to your customers, use your channels wisely, and hope the future comes soon enough.

Ricardo Fuentes, CEO/President
MATECH