Nokia Claims Another Victim: ST Micro/Ericsson

In November, TI announced what amounts to an exit from the wireless business as its Nokia-tied fortunes sagged. Today (10 Dec 2012) STMicroelectronics announced it’s

STMicroelectronics announces new strategic plan

STMicroelectronics announces new strategic plan

exiting the ST-Ericsson relationship but remaining “their supply-chain partner, advanced process-technology partner and application-processor IP provider.”

According to a Reuters article just posted on Yahoo Finance, ST-Ericsson was also closely tied to Nokia. As Nokia lost its edge with the arrival of smartphones and user-downloadable apps, ST-Ericsson application processors followed Nokia’s trend line.

The market for cell phones has gone from “feature phones” to smartphones in most markets. ST-Ericsson’s customer base didn’t keep up, so STMicro is exiting the market.

STMicro will instead focus on areas where the company has strength and a chance of market success. Said Carlo Bozotti, President and CEO of ST: “Our new strategy is centered on leadership in sense and power and automotive products, and in embedded-processing solutions.”  Notably, the company will focus in five areas:

  1. MEMS and sensors
  2. smart power
  3. automotive products
  4. microcontrollers
  5. application processors including digital consumer

These five application areas will be spread across two domains: Sense and Power, and Automotive; and Embedded Processing. For the former, device categories include MEMS, sensors, power discretes, advanced analog, automotive powertrain, automotive safety (such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, ADAS), automotive body, and the red-hot In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) category.

One category of products in the STMicro new strategic plan is MEMS and Sensors.

In Embedded, the company will “focus on the core of the electronics systems” and ditch wireless broadband. Target areas include microcontrollers, imaging, digital consumer, application processors, and digital ASICs. All totaled, ST estimates these two domains and sub-categories total to about a $140 billion TAM.

I’ve not recently examined the nuances of ST’s product line in these areas but am anxious to do so to see how they’ll fare against the likes of Texas Instruments, Renesas, Freescale, Atmel and others. I’ll let you know and post the results here.

C. A. Ciufo

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Footnote: Recently I got a chance to “test drive” Nokia’s new Lumia 920. This Windows Phone 8 smartphone has some nifty features and closely resembles the Windows 8 desktop experience. Would I trade my iPhone 4s yet? We’ll see.

Nokia’s Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8. Can it compete?