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Dr. Tsugio Makimoto Receives Bellwether Award at Semico Summit

PHOENIX, Arizona March 16,2004 - Semico today announced the selection of Dr. Tsugio Makimoto, Corporate Advisor at Sony Corp., as this year’s Bellwether Award recipient at the annual 2004 Semico Summit conference held in Scottsdale, AZ. This impressive award is given to the executive who has proven to be the most influential to the semiconductor industry in the past year.

The distinguished Dr. Makimoto is well-known for ‘Makimoto’s Wave’, a key semiconductor concept he developed. It refers to the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry which alternates directions between customization and standardization. “Dr. Makimoto’s contributions toward developing and manufacturing devices and his highly respected vision of market cycles have established him as a very influential leader in the semiconductor industry”, said Jim Feldhan, President, Semico Research Corp.

In his keynote speech, he addressed new opportunities in the chip industry. He cited the digitization of consumer electronics – the migration from analog to digital – as an event of historical scale that will be completed by the end of this decade. According to Dr. Makimoto, the market is experiencing a paradigm shift, migrating from a PC-centric to a Digital Consumer (DC)-centric industry. “PCs were the start of the ‘first digital wave’, and now we are experiencing the ‘second digital wave’, which will quickly overtake the first,” said Makimoto. The digital consumer segment, the largest portion being mobile phones, will outgrow the PC segment in 2005.

New technology directions will enable this wave, and create new opportunities for the market. Low power, high performance system-on-chips (SoCs), System in Package (SiP), programmable technology, and cleverness-driven devices will play major roles as technology and market drivers.

SoCs are invaluable for saving board space and reducing power consumption, but the cost of using them is escalating. Dr. Makimoto suggests that SoC technology will continue to be profitable in certain cases, but SiP and Field Programmable technology will increasingly supplement the traditional SoC market.

Dr. Makimoto discussed robots as a key example of cleverness-driven devices that consume large amounts of semiconductors per device today, and have the potential to be a major end market in the future as robots become ever more sophisticated and human-like. In addition to the processing power equivalent to a high-end computer, Sony’s QRIO biped robot today includes 80 sensors for touch, speed, force, and IR distance, among others. Dr. Makimoto believes that although today’s technology driver is the digital consumer market with low power devices, in the next two decades that will change to robots and cleverness-driven devices.