Embedded Business News
Jun 14, 2013 - 12:37:18 PM
This is not as straightforward as it appears. Will Captain Tuttle please report to Colonel Henry Blake?
Silicon Labs has announced their intention to acquire microcontroller company Energy Micro, based in Oslo, Norway for $170 Million.
Silicon labs has an impressive portfolio of 8-bit 8051-based microcontrollers and 32-bit ARM-based microcontrollers. Unlike most microcontroller companies, Silicon Labs' focus is on high accuracy analog semiconductors. Applying that technology to their microcontroller portfolio has allowed Silicon Labs to create a roadmap of truly mixed-signal microcontrollers that is among the lowest power microcontrollers in the industry; for example, their 8-bit with integrated sub-GHz RF transceiver offers a 10nA sleep mode.
While Energy Micro's Gecko product line has had an extensive marketing focus on "low power" Cortex-M4, Cortex-M3, and Cortex-M0+, they have had a tough time competing with similar offerings from Silicon Labs, Microchip, and STMicroelectronics.
Last year, Silicon Labs purchased ZigBee chip manufacturer Ember, instantly making Silicon Labs a major player in the ZigBee market, although the real benefit to Silabs was obtaining 2.4GHz technology.
Energy Micro and their 85 employees will continue to operate as a separate Silabs business unit based out of Norway.
The purchase of Energy Micro for $170 Million appears to be a lot for a $10 Million product line; in contrast, Zilog recently made the shrewd purchase of a $337 Million microcontroller product line from Samsung Electronics for $50 Million.
The purchase allows Silicon Labs to quickly and dramatically increase their microcontroller portfolio. Applying their design methods to the Energy Micro Gecko family will allow these microcontrollers to finally see the low power numbers they have dreamed of. In addition, the benefit of Silab's sales channels can result in significantly increased revenues. This, then, may be the real benefit.
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