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Motorola establishes major chip presence

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Motorola is setting up a new IC design centre in Adelaide focused on developing complex systems-on-chip (SoCs) for high-end communications products.

The new centre, one of only a handful in the world, will design and develop cutting edge SoCs for integration in a range of telecoms equipment, including routers and switches. Staff will work with engineers from other worldwide locations, including Austin, Texas, according to Motorola’s global head of the embedded design automation group Jay Yantchev.

“A critical success factor will be our ability to recruit 30 semiconductor engineers and managers from the total Australasian skills base,” Yantchev told Electronics News in an exclusive interview. “We plan to employ an additional 30 engineers at a rate of every six months and invite expressions of interest from the local semiconductor industry to join this new initiative.”

Yantchev anticipates the centre will become the largest semiconductor design facility in Australia. The company’s Adelaide-based electronic design automation facility already employs close to 150 staff.

“We already have some products on the way,” Yantchev says. These SoCs are destined for high-end markets for communications processors globally, not just for integration within the parent company’s own product range, Yantchev adds. The centre will also service Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Sector, which is due to be spun off, although the transition may take three years to complete.

But the news is not all good for Motorola in Australia. While talking up the IC design centre, the company has axed the remaining 53 jobs at its Motorola Labs operations in Sydney, citing a restructuring of the company’s R&D. The company’s Pacific division president John Ghergetta also blamed the closure on the Labs’ disparate development focus rather than concentrating on a single development area.

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