The Trouble with News


You would think that because I’m a National Public Radio junkie, news would be of vital importance to me – any type of news. Just between us, sometimes it doesn’t make the impression intended.

Let’s consider the economy. In Q1 2008, the Commerce Department reported 0.6% growth. Therefore, a recession isn’t happening, right? Two quarters of negative growth officially defines a recession. When I drive through Anytown, USA, and see the yard sales, foreclosure notices, and layoffs in manufacturing plants, it certainly feels like a recession. Just fill up at any gas station or pay for a few groceries and you see inflated prices. Home values are still falling; Standard & Poor’s reported an annual 12.7% drop.

Then some good news perks up the outlook. Just last week Stan Myers, president and CEO of SEMI, indicated that global semiconductor equipment sales are expected to decline by 15-20% on year in 2008. But he added – and this gets my attention instantly –the IC packaging and testing sector is anticipated to grow in shipments, which will in turn call for more materials. The IC packaging and testing materials market will grow by at least 9% this year, he added. The world looks rosier.

Suddenly the news doesn’t seem so bleak. It doesn’t seem to matter any more what Obama’s past minister said or how long Clinton will battle for the nomination.

Here’s the news that really makes a difference, at least to me. Companies are partnering to tackle manufacturing 3D integrated packages. Take the 3D Integration and Packaging Roadshow sponsored by SUSS MicroTec, STS, and NEXX Systems presented in May in Raleigh, NC; Dallas, TX; and San Jose, CA. Now there’s creative cooperation at its best. Advanced Packaging magazine is sponsoring a symposium with MEPTEC called Packaging Developments and Innovations: From System Design to Integrated Delivery on Nov. 13, 2008, Wyndham Hotel, San Jose. This will have all types of emerging technology issues as topics of discussion and the movers and shakers of the industry as presenters.

There is lots of other news as well. A leading foundry, TSMC, announced recently about expanding beyond design and manufacturing to offer testing and packaging (wafer-level packaging). Packaging has become attractive to front-end foundry players, moving up the food chain. Also, many traditional SATs providers are doing well. For instance, STATS ChipPAC Ltd. announced results for the first quarter 2008 with revenues of $427.2M, increased by 9.4% over the first quarter of 2007. Nemotek has licensed the Shellcase MVP wafer-level chip-scale packaging (WLCSP) solution from Tessera. Shellcase MVP was announced by Tessera in March. This will enable Nemotek to provide OEMs and camera module manufacturers with the ability to build smaller, thinner, and more functional devices, such as camera phones, digital cameras, and laptops.

This is the type of news that gets me excited. I guess that all news, like all politics, is local or at least personal.

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Gail Flower