Semiconductor WEEK: An overview of results and conclusions from recent reports at VLSI.
It's cooling off• Order activity for semiconductor equipment slipped one point with nearly all segments turning lower• With China accounting nearly a third of equipment sales in 2020, heavy restrictions could have a significant impact on the 2021 outlook• VLSI’s Chip Price Performance Index declinedSemiconductor AnalyticsLast Week in the Semiconductor Market:Semiconductor sales were up significantly last week, as they followed 2019 levels. IC prices are well above last year and have only been down 4 weeks this year. Trump Administration's new export restrictions on semiconductor equipment raise the probability of an Out-of-Sample Disruptor.Semi Market results from last week: • Semiconductor Sales Nowcast: The 3Q20 Nowcast dropped to +11% • Semiconductor Weather1 Report: Warm• IC Supply-Demand2 Metrics: Mixed• Electronics Pricing Trend: Moved back up with a bump in Notebooks and Mobile Chip History CenterPeople: Yan Borodovsky discusses what was happening in 2007 with DFM and Com-putational lithography at Intel in this historic interview series. Intel had made quite a splash with its announcement that it had developed a new form of computational lithography. At the time, Dr. Borodovsky was a Senior Intel Fellow and Director of Advanced Litho-graphy there. In the first video, he describes the technology. In the second, he demonstrates how it works. In the third, details how innovation really happens at companies like Intel.People: Craig Barrett discusses how Intel turned manufacturing into the powerhouse it is today, in the first of this series with Dr. Barrett from 2006. He describes the origins of manufacturing lore such as Copy Exactly, Intel U, and refsnart in this interview. Then he also discusses the future of American competitive-ness and the importance of math and science. At the time, he was Chairman of Intel.The Chip InsiderStrategy and Tactics: Huang’s, Moore’s, and Koomey’s Law. Where’s the COVID cliff?What’s Happening and What’s the Meaning: “Huang’s Law Is the New Moore’s Law, and Explains Why Nvidia Wants Arm” This article in the Wall Street Journal by Christopher Mims was a public relations coup of Titanic proportions for Nvidia. As Mims chose to define Nvidia’s monumental gains in compute-performance-per-watt as a new trend replacing Moore’s Law. Now, just maybe Nvidia’s PR team is not as bright as its architecture gurus. There may have been something of a knowledge gap between Mims, Nvidia, and Jensen Huang about Moore’s Law and Koomey’s Law. But that should be easy to overcome. After all, there’s the knowledge in your head, your smartphone’s contact list, and for everything else … there’s Wikipedia. The relationship between device innovation and power saving was written about as far back as Gordon’s 1965 paper that Carver Mead would later codify as Moore’s Law; also, the relationship being an annual growth in density that lowered cost-per-transistor and brought new applications for chips. It was Stanford’s Jon Koomey, who was the first to observe and codify the linear relationship between compute power and energy in 2010, which was later named a law after him.Where’s the COVID Cliff and other distruptive points to fall off of? This is a question we keep getting asked. What has so many unnerved is we’ve moved into COVID’s third strategic phase without any hint of a dark cloud, but there’s consistent darkness for everyone at the edge of the two-quarter horizon. And COVID’s not the only one. With that in mind, I thought I would come up with a list of potential Out-of-Sample disruptors and their likely occurance. Sneak preview: I think the COVID Cliff is on the 2022 horizon. I want to point out that one must use the Risk vs Uncertainty maxim to forecast them for your businesses.Maxims Reloaded: Risk vs Uncertainty: Know which is the basis behind any decision that needs to be made. Misreading situations of risk versus uncertainty in decision-making can result in bad decisions because the best method under one can be the worst under another. It’s how the world’s financial system almost collapsed between 2007 and 2008…Semiconductor StocksVLSI's Semiconductor Stock Indices increased this week despite tumbling Friday following the news that President Trump tested positive for COVID-19.• Semiconductors +2%• Equipment +1%• EDA +2%• Electronic Materials -0%VLSI’s Semiconductor Stock Index was led up 2.0% by UMC, which rocketed after a competitor was hit with new U.S. restrictions.IDM +1.7%Foundry & OSAT +1.9%Fabless & Fablite +2.2%VLSI’s Semiconductor Equipment Stock Index was led up 1.3% by ASM International as they continue with their share buyback plan, which is driving prices higher.WFE +2.3%Test +1.9%Assembly -1.1%VLSI’s EDA Stock Index increased 1.6%.VLSI’s Electronics Materials Stock Index slipped 0.2%; BASF, SOITEC, and Cabot Microelectronics were the only bright spots this week.Hottest Stocks: UMC, STMicroelectronics, Infineon, On Semiconductor, ASM International, and Skyworks.