Have you read the news about Renesas getting a 1.5 billion Dollar "bailout"from the Japanese government? I talked to some customers the other day and they brought up the issue, if Renesas was still a reliable silicon partner when they are in need of governmental support. I am convinced: They are! For now and for the future!
For more than 25 years IAR Systems has been working closely with Renesas; our tool chain supports ten MCU families and accordingly more than 4,000 devices from Renesas. On numerous occasions I had the chance to meet their top management and to discuss strategies and opportunities.
So trust me if I tell the company has an extremely strong substance. Here is why I believe that Renesas is a silicon vendor you can count on.
Renesas still ranks among top three in the list of global semiconductor suppliers with a revenue of roughly eight billion Dollars in 2012. Size matters in this highly competitive market and only the strongest will survive. And Renesas has that quality of a survivor—which they have proved when pulling through tough times with the downturn of the economy in Japan and after the earthquake and Fukushima in 2011.
From a financial point of view, Renesas has become more independent than ever thanks to the most recent governmental support: The funding they have received from the "Innovation Network Corporation of Japan"—a mainly state-owned organization—means a safe and reliable source for new money on the long run.
These days, several silicon vendors experience a strong pressure from the markets. So either they have to consider joining forces with partners or to keep an eye on competitors who are planning on a takeover. From that point of view, you can truly bank on Renesas: They have long-standing experience in consolidation being a merger of Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electronics and NEC themselves, one of the largest mergers in the industry ever. With their safe financial basis and their own stability deriving from their size, Renesas sees no need to consolidate as many other players in the semiconductor market. In the past three years they have been laying low on acquisitions. But being able to look behind the scenes at Renesas I know that is no sign of them taking a stand outside the current phase of consolidation.
It is also their strong and reliable product offering which makes Renesas a trusted silicon partner. They maintain amongst others a comprehensive portfolio of 8, 16 and 32 bit microcontrollers with a proven development history like the M16C or V850. And Renesas keeps pointing out—and proving it with new well-placed products like the RZ series—that they will continue to focus on markets with long product life cycles.
Furthermore, these microcontroller families come with a high assurance of delivery: Customers appreciate Renesas being a reliable and sustainable supplier—a fact which represents another USP in this silicon partner’s list and which has been highly regarded in the industry.
Time for Renesas to join forces internally and deliver a clear guidance on what and how their strong position will be maintained. Several changes and several cross border messages has impacted the essence and clarity of the corporate message to customer and partners.
So from what I can see Renesas has gained an enormous strength during the past few years and months—as an economic entity and as a technology leader. That is why I believe that Renesas is a powerful semiconductor vendor you can count on today and for the future.
Stefan Skarin, CEO, IAR Systems