Updated: ST sees results of MEMS diversity thrust

December 03, 2015 // By Peter Clarke
A 2012 strategy to expand ST's MEMS offering into applications and market sectors that would complement success in smartphones is starting to pay off, according to Benedetto Vigna, general manager of the analog, MEMS and sensors group at STMicroelectronics.

By 2012 ST's MEMS were doing well in consumer electronics, and particularly in smartphones, but the problem Vigna saw was that each of those MEMS design wins lasted only a few months and even though volumes were high and getting higher, more design wins were always needed to replace those in retiring products. What Vigna wanted was additional MEMS design wins in longer-lived products that could command higher average selling prices with less price erosion.

Benedetto Vigna, executive vice president and general manager of the Analog MEMS and Sensors group within STMicroelectronics.

This involved – and continues to involve – developing novel products for ST's established markets while at the same time developing new markets for adaptions of ST's established consumer MEMS. In addition there is the hope of developing original MEMS sensors to help foster entirely new markets.

Meanwhile increased competition in the supply of inertial MEMS sensors in the consumer market has impacted ST. There was the loss of some design slots with customers such as Apple as attested to by third-party deconstructions of iPhones. ST, like all Apple suppliers, is tight lipped about where it is design in. But one result was that ST has dropped from being MEMS market leader in 2012, to a distant second to Robert Bosch GmbH (see Bosch pulls ahead in MEMS top 30 ranking), according to market research firm Yole Developpement. A ranking from IC Insights even put ST in fourth position in 2014 (see ST falls to fourth in 2014 sensor sales ranking).

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