Dan Niles of Alphaone Capital Partners is one of the most respected names when it comes to covering tech companies. He foresees Q1-2019 to be a difficult quarter for semiconductor companies. Most notable reasons are weakness in unit shipments of smartphones and a pronounced weakness in auto sales in China. The advanced chip orders in Q4-2018 to avoid tariffs is yet another factor adding fuel to the fire. Clearing bloated inventories will be the name of the game in Q1 and that too adversely impacts new chip bookings.
Intel’s data-center revenues in the first 9 months of 2018 reached nearly $17B (26% y-o-y). In contrast, Nvidia’s data-center revenue (mainly AI accelerators) in the same period rose an astounding 70% from a much smaller base, reaching $2.3 billion but there were signs that the rate of growth is weakening. Graphcore, Habana, ThinCI, and Wave Computing (out of 50+ AI chip upstarts) are the main challengers of Nvidia and have demonstrated traction in this market
What has been the hottest tech topic of 2018 when it come to VC funding? Is it artificial intelligence, or blockchain? The correct answer is neither. The accolades goes to “privacy”. We have witnessed the implementation of GDPR, sweeping governmental legislation to protect user data, massive data breaches and lawsuits, and many congressional summons and all of them have contributed to the frenzy. Crunchbase recorded a more than 30% increase in the number of funding rounds raised by privacy startups in 2018 over 2017
Astounding statistics about smart speakers and voice assistants. Purchases through Alexa in 2018 tripled y-o-y. Number of voice-enabled devices in use doubled in 2018 and reached 100M units. Nearly 20% American adults own a smart speaker
HiSilicon (semiconductor arm of Huawei) will be TSMC’s first customer to use EUV. The processes of choice will be N7+ and N5 going to mass production in 1Q19 and 2020
Nearly $230B (~20%) of market capitalization of top 24 semiconductor companies has been erased since October 3, 2018. The irony is that very little of this carnage is due to demand softness. Sentiments, perceived threats, and uncertainty are to blame. They are powerful factors that should never be ignored
Arm introduced a new core (Cortex-A65AE) targeting automotive applications. The core is optimized for 7nm implementation and has integrated safety features for self-driving applications. The overarching objective for this core is to address the safety concerns of the public when it comes to autonomous vehicles. The most notable new feature is the support for multi-threading (eight threads). This comes handy in fault-tolerant computing which is clearly a must in self-operating scenarios. Traditionally, multithreading has been a strength for MIPS and that has been one of the key reasons for its adoption by Mobileye.
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