Microchip Clarifies Future Product Strategies

October 13, 2016 by Jeff Shepard

Microchip Technology Inc. acquired Atmel Corporation in earlier this year for $8.15 per share in a combination of cash and Microchip common stock. The acquisition price represented a total equity value of about $3.56 billion, and a total enterprise value of about $3.40 billion. Since then Microchip has focused on integrating the company and products, and recently communicated its strategy for products going forward.

“I would like to clarify our position on our microcontroller products, plus their supporting hardware and software tools – all of which are important considerations to design engineers using both Atmel and Microchip devices,” began Ganesh Moorthy, Microchip’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

“A couple areas we would like to emphasize: Microchip has never focused on ‘one core,’ but rather on the whole solution providing ‘one platform.’ To our knowledge, we are the only merchant supplier providing a variety of core options including MIPS and ARM® technologies. We will continue our plan to remain core agnostic, fitting the best solution with the right customer and for the right application.

“We will continue offering both MIPS and ARM based solutions to our customers and will continue to invest in both the Microchip PIC32 and Atmel SAM 32-bit families of products. In addition, we will continue to support and invest in growing our 8-bit PIC® and AVR MCU product families.

“We plan to support both Atmel Studio 7 and MPLAB® X for the foreseeable future so customers are well-served regardless of their preferred platform.

“We expect to continue our philosophy of customer-driven obsolescence; as long as there are customers wanting to use a specific device, we will continue to provide it for them,” Moorthy continued. He followed-up with answers to several specific questions about the company’s product strategy going forward:

How will the two company’s 32-bit products be complementary? Answer: Many of the 32-bit MCU products are largely complementary because of their different strengths and focus. For example, the SAM series has specific families targeting lower power consumption and 5 volts where PIC32 has families more optimally suited for audio and graphics solutions. We plan to continue investing in both SAM and PIC32 families of products.

Will Atmel’s START support the 8-bit AVR line in addition to 32-bit processors? Answer: Yes, although it is too early to commit to any specific dates at this stage, we consider modern rapid prototyping tools, such as START and the MPLAB Code Configurator, strategic for the our customers to deliver innovative and competitive solutions in this fast-paced industry.

Both companies have an extensive list of partners to provide customers with technical expertise, consulting services, hardware and software design and manufacturing services. How will the company manage the partners from both companies? Answer: We value all of our partner relationships which now include IAR and Keil. These partnerships are an important part of the Atmel “classic” story particularly for SAM and ARM class devices, as well as AVR. We will continue to foster these relationships, along with and as part of Microchip’s Worldwide Design Partner network and Third Party vendor networks.

Now that Microchip has a complete portfolio of low-power, inexpensive 32-bit microcontrollers, will the focus on 8-bit product be inevitably reduced? Answer: No, we see that in actual embedded control applications there is still a large demand for the type of qualities that are uniquely provided by an 8-bit product such as: ease-of-use, 5V operation, robustness, noise immunity, real time performance, long endurance, integration of analog and digital peripherals, extremely low-static power consumption and more. We don’t think that the number of bits is an appropriate / sufficient way to classify a complex product such as the modern microcontroller. We believe that having the right peripherals is actually what matters most.

How do the security portfolios from both companies align? Answer: Atmel and Microchip security products are complementary. Atmel had a large portfolio of crypto companions and secure MPUs. Microchip has a large portfolio of hardware-based crypto enabled MCUs and a vast portfolio of security software solutions. Together, the portfolios create a comprehensive set of security solutions to meet customer requirements.

Did Atmel have a memory product portfolio that overlapped with Microchip’s? Answer: Yes, Atmel and Microchip both offer serial EEPROM product lines with significant overlap. All products that are in production will continue to be available for purchase and no EOL’s are planned. Microchip has a broader memory product line that includes serial flash, parallel flash and serial SRAM that Atmel did not offer. And Atmel has parallel EEPROM and EPROM products that Microchip did not offer.

How is Microchip addressing the Wi-Fi® product offering from Atmel? Answer: Atmel’s brings a highly competitive Wi-Fi portfolio in the areas of low power, small size and low cost. The Atmel and Microchip Wi-Fi product offerings have merged into a single unified offering. All products that are in production will continue to be available for purchase and no EOL’s are planned.

Is there analog product overlap between the two companies that will make any product redundant, where Microchip may obsolete either the Microchip or Atmel product? Answer: We have no plans to obsolete any stand-alone products from either company since there is little to no overlap on the stand-alone analog product families. We are combining the temperature sensor offerings, as well as the CAN, LIN and power conversion products as we have identified product strengths on both sides.

What is your roadmap for future products? Answer: While we don’t disclose the specifics of our roadmaps publicly, we are committed to expanding our portfolio to meet the demand of our customers.