During an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s Mad Money, Lam CEO Martin Anstice shared his thoughts about the increasing importance of technology inflections and the end markets that are driving development. As the semiconductor industry continues to redefine itself, “innovation is never more valuable, never more important,” Martin began.
At the leading edge, radically different manufacturing approaches – or technology inflections – are often needed to create new devices. These new strategies include multiple patterning and three-dimensional architectures like 3D NAND. Martin noted the growing importance of these inflections: “Last year, we believe that the proportion of WFE [wafer fabrication equipment] spending focused on inflections was about 33%, and by calendar 2018, [it will be] perhaps more than 55%.”
“The cloud for enterprise, the IoT [Internet of Things], wearables, automotive, MEMS [micro-electromechanical systems] – they are all enabled ultimately by the ecosystem that supports the semiconductor industry equipment and materials,” he continued. While many of these products require leading-edge chipmaking capabilities, some devices being developed for the IoT as well as MEMS do not, which has created opportunity for older, or lagging-edge, technologies. “We see a resurgence of spending on what we would have traditionally called legacy technology nodes,” Martin said. “Legacy technology nodes sometimes are central to enabling new businesses, new economies, and new marketplaces.”
Whether lagging-edge technology produced your wearable fitness device or leading-edge equipment made the solid-state drive that is storing your photos in the cloud, Lam probably had a hand in it. As Jim Cramer summed up, “Literally every device needs chips, and the chips need to be made with semiconductor equipment and tested by them.”
To watch the full interview that aired on Thursday, April 21, see the video on CNBC’s YouTube site.