Q and A Archives

Peruse a rich archive of questions and answers that ran from 1999 to 2017
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999


December 300mm wafers just recently went into production. The next increase in size is likely to be what? When is it likely to be introduced?

The ITRS (International Technology Roadmap for semiconductors) projects that a 450mm wafer will be in first production by 2016 and may be in initial production by 2013.

If the linear trend of wafer size continues, a nominally 450mm wafer will be in significant production by about 2019. If 450mm is the next wafer diameter, and if it is in initial production by 2013-2016, then there will probably be a period of 3-6 years after initial production before equipment or materials companies see any significant return on investment. A similar delay occurred with 300mm when projections called for initial production by 1997 and significant production did not begin until 2000-01.

Another thing to consider is that chips or die will be nominally 20mm square (including dicing street) by 2016, and a 460mm diameter is better suited for 20mm square die than 450mm. Before 2010, the industry must decide the optimum wafer diameter and when it should be introduced.

November When we speak of collateral material in reference to selling, what are referring to?
A: Collateral material includes brochures, data sheets, application notes, machine characterizations, presentation material such as videos, etc. The purpose of each piece of collateral is to assist the sales force in closing a sale. The amount and type—as well as the scope—of collateral is normally determined by the marketing department or Product/Product Marketing Manager and calculated to provide information that is important to various steps in the sales process.
October What are the most important things that should be contained in the cover letter to a proposal (quotation)?
A: A proposal should be viewed as a "selling" document and an integral part of the sales process. In high technology industries it often reads like a technical treatise and needs to be counterbalanced with some good selling information in the cover letter. It should be brief; no more than one page in length. It should restate the key benefits of the product that apply specifically to the customer being addressed. It should also carry some closing statement such as suggesting the time you'll be in touch to discuss delivery and other final arrangements. Strangers to you, who are in the purchasing loop, may pick up the cover letter/proposal and they should see it as appealing, hard-hitting, and straight forward.
September Since the 1960s, Integrated Device Manufacturers have maintained a continuous revolution in productivity by changing device and production technology. For the decade of the '60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's what were the wafer diameter and feature sizes?

Wafer Dia.
Feature Size
Dominant Tech.
Invention 12-50 mm 50-10 bipolar xstr, diode
Lab Scale 50-100 mm 10-3 bipolar IC, rise of MOS
Process Control 100-150 mm 3-1 CMOS IC
Productivity/COO 150-200 mm 1-0.3 CMOS IC
Testing Limits 200-450 mm 0.3<0.05 CMOS, interconnects

August Who, by title, in a vendor company should be used in helping to sell inside a prospective customer?

The Account Manager should be in charge of determining who goes into see particular customer personnel; when they see them; and what they should say. But anyone in the vendor company who has a positive relationship inside the vendor company is a candidate. This means from top executives to the engineer or customer support people. Relationships are what move the sales process forward and everyone can be a part of the sales team.

July Customers in the semiconductor industry are typically large organizations, operate globally, and require a central contact in a supplier organization who is usually known as a GAM (Global Account Manager), SAM (Strategic Account Manager), or KAM (Key Account Manager). In reference to dealing with that customer, at what point in the hierarchy of the supplier organization should the GAM/SAM/KAM have to defer to the wishes of a senior manager?

In all circumstances, the GAM/SAM/KAM should be in charge of who, what, how, when and where supplier personal interact with account personnel. That means even being able to tell the CEO what, if any, interaction he or she should have with the account. The GAM/SAM/KAM is the customer advocate inside the supplier organization and protector/developer of the account relationship. Those responsibilities will not work if authority does not remain with the GAM/SAM/KAM.

June The semiconductor industry is very volatile. What years has the industry hit its peaks and valleys between 1969 and 2003?

The peak years were 1969, 1974, 1984, 1995, 1997 and 2000.

The valley years were 1970, 1975. 1985, 1996, 1998 and 2002.

May What is the capital cost of constructing a new 300mm fabs running 130, 90, and <90nm technology, and how might it impact the industry?
A: The cost is US$2 – 4 billion and continuing to increase which will cause ever-more concentration of power and a further shift to efficient foundries.
April The semiconductor business can be divided into four key segments. What are they?

Poly Si makers, Wafer makers, Device makers, and Package/Test.

March What is a "Value Proposition"?

A Value Proposition is a key, general statement that differentiates you, in the marketplace, from competitors. It usually consists of a package of benefits, directed at a specific customer, in such a way that the customer is persuaded that he/she derives greater value from your product than competitive products. While a Value Proposition must be specific to the customer being addressed, it may sometimes be generalized to apply to a group of customers with the same set of problems.

February When we talk of "positioning" a company, product or product line, what do we mean?

It is best described by Regis Mckenna who said "Positioning is a psychological location in the customer's mind, pertaining to the relative qualities a company, product, or service may have with respect to its competition." So when we "position" our company or product we mean we are creating or changing perceptions about it in the customer's mind. The operative word is "perceptions" which may or may not be the same as the physical reality.

January What is a White paper?

It is usually a report on a product or process written by someone "in the know" within a customer's environment. The writing of such a paper is often the result of stimulation by a vendor's sales team to provide written evidence of the success of what that vendor has to offer. Being written by a customer's own person gives it extra credibility and helps make it useful in stimulating other sales