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Zilog Buys Microcontroller Product Lines from Samsung

By Bill Giovino
Jun 7, 2013 - 2:51:53 PM

Big Z is putting on the gloves. Get ready for a fight!

IXYS Corporation, parent company of legacy and legendary microcontroller manufacturer Zilog, has entered into an agreement to purchase 4-bit and 8-bit Flash microcontroller product lines from South Korean semiconductor manufacturer Samsung Electronics for $50 Million.

Big Z is Back!
Big Z is Back!
IXYS/Zilog will receive product familes, existing inventories, intellectual property and other assets related to the 4- and 8-bit microcontroller business.

Product familes include an enhanced 8051 and Zilog Z8-compatible microcontrollers.

Samsung Electronics' Product Familes Purchased by Zilog
The product familes purchased are as follows:

  • KS86 (SAM8 RC) 8-bit 12MHz microcontrollers
    up to 32KB Flash, 2KB RAM, fast interrupt processing
  • S3C (8051 compatible) 8-bit 24MHz microcontrollers
    up to 384KB Program Memory, 4KB RAM, 10-bit ADC, Hard-Wired ADPCM Voice Codec
  • S3C7 (KS57 Series): 4-bit 6MHz ultra-low cost microcontrollers
    up to 32KB Masked ROM, 4KB RAM (ROMless with 5KB RAM), LCD
  • S3C9 (KS86 Series): 8-bit 12MHz microcontrollers, SAM88RCRI CPU core, Zilog Z8 Compatible
    up to 60KB Flash plus 2KB executable RAM, 272Bytes RAM
  • S3C8 (KS88 Series): 8-bit 12MHz microcontrollers, SAM8RC CPU core with FLASH, Zilog Z8 Compatible
    up to 64KB Flash, 4KB RAM, 10-bit ADC

The 8-bit microcontroller business is growing steadily and 2012 worldwide sales were around $4Billion. Although difficult to determine, the 8051 business is estimated to be around $1 Billion per year and is seeing strong growth in Southeast Asia. Zilog has already established a presence with the Zilog 8051 microcontroller family.

4-bit microcontrollers, while a small part of the overall microcontroller market, still see significant sales in ultra-low cost, ultra-high volume applications where fractions of a penny count. Many of the 8-bit microcontrollers found here can be found in battery chargers, smoke detectors, thermostats and blood pressure monitors. The microcontroller product familes listed here can be found in many popular home appliances, everything from rice makers to washing machines.

In 2010 Samsung Electronics was ranked #5 in 8-bit microcontroller sales dollars, above #6 Freescale and #4 STMicroelectronics. With this buy, Zilog is now back in the Top Ten, and when the math is done it's possible Zilog is now beating Freescale in 8-bit sales dollars.

According to Gartner, Samsung's 4-bit and 8-bit microcontroller sales in 2012 were $337M. Purchasing a $337M product line for $50 seems unusually low; however Zilog will be manufacturing these devices at Samsung Electronics's wafer fabs so it's a good guess that the foundry agreement ensures Samsung Electronics will still see profit from these successful product lines.

Samsung Electronics' foundries presently fab low-power CMOS at 90nm, 65nm, 45nm, 35nm, 18nm, and 13nm

About IXYS Corporation
"Since its founding in Silicon Valley, IXYS Corporation has been developing technology-driven products to improve energy conversion efficiency, generate clean energy, improve automation, and provide advanced products for the transportation, medical and telecommunications industries. IXYS, with its subsidiaries, is a worldwide pioneer in the development of power semiconductors, solid-state relays, high voltage integrated circuits (HVIC) and microcontrollers that are necessary in conserving energy and in reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels."

Zilog Buys Microcontroller Product Lines from Samsung

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