Europe's decade of shame
By David Manners, July 13, 2012
The post 2000 decade was a Lost Decade for Europe's semiconductor industry, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, told IFS2012 yesterday. "It's been quite shameful," he said.
"If the Big Three companies had stayed at the same market share that they had in 2000, they'd have had $86bn of revenues in the decade. And that ignores the extra effects of lost growth because they were growing quite nicely. They threw it all away and rewarded themselves with nice bonuses all round."
The Big Three have been degraded to second tier players. "It's been a decade of deliberate European IDM wealth destruction, bonuses all round, and thanks for the EU and public authority subsidies," said Penn.
One dire effect of this decline is the predicament of ST-Ericsson which "is losing $1m a day while competing with Qualcomm which is making almost $10m profit a day," said Penn.
Although the EC is in favour of helping the European chip industry, it is prevented from doing so because the industry is bitterly split between the Big Three which demonstrate 'real hostility' towards 450mm, said Penn, and the research establishments, materials suppliers and tool-makers which want to participate in 450mm technology development.
450mm will allow Europe's indigenous chip firms to catch up with their lost leadership position in advanced CMOS manufacturing, " said Penn, adding that if they don't embrace 450mm it will "undermine Europe's long-term KET aspiratons and advanced manufacturing needs by 2025."