“Aggressive but not impatient” is the way Gregg Lowe is describing his approach to his new job as CEO of Austin’s Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL). The former head of Texas Instruments’ analog chip business surprised the industry earlier this month with his move to Freescale, and less than 2 weeks later he welcomed hundreds of guests to the annual Freescale Technology Forum in San Antonio.
“I have found an organization with a deep foundation in the values that I share: integrity, openness, teamwork and strong desire to win,” said Lowe yesterday. “And I see a great opportunity to help make Freescale a stronger company.” Freescale is about a third the size of Texas Instruments based on revenue, and carries a $5.8 billion dollar debt load as the result of a leveraged buyout. But Lowe says that debt load does not prevent Freescale from making key investments. “Today we are investing 19% of our revenue in R&D,” Lowe told reporters yesterday.
Asked whether new investments would extend to acquisitions, Lowe replied,
“I’m just 13 days into this,” Lowe said, “But I think you can feel a culture relatively quickly as far as the engineers kind of putting the problems on the table versus burying them or hiding them. They want to win. They want to make things happen. I would like every single Freescale employee, as they are driving into work, to be thinking that what they do today is going to make a difference.”
Freescale definitely intends to make a difference in the mobile ecosystem. So far at the Technology Forum, the company has introduced several new products designed to enhance wireless solutions. Its Xtrinsic FXOS8700CQ sensor is optimized for mobile applications that require very accurate orientation data, including augmented reality, gaming, navigation and location-based services. The sensor combines high resolution motion sensing and heading technology with an accelerometer and a magnetometer.
The company has also launched additions to its QorIQ portfolio this week. A new metrocell product, the B4420, completes the QorIQ Converge platform, which Freescale says is unique in its ability to scale all the way from femtocells to macrocells.
Freescale is continuing the rollout of its QorIQ AMP series of microprocessors with the launch of two new 28nm chips, the T1042 and T2080. The T1042 integrates four 64-bit cores and targets power-sensitive applications such as WLAN access points and enterprise switching and routing equipment.
The importance of software in semiconductor architecture was stressed repeatedly at the Technology Forum, and to that end Freescale says it has introduced the industry’s first software-aware system architecture, Layerscape, along with two new QorIQ products based on Layerscape.
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