SAN JOSE, Calif. — Semiconductor industry icon Wilfred J. Corrigan said Tuesday (April 4) he is “confident” that 15 percent annual growth rates can be achieved by the semiconductor industry again, driven by consumer electronics spending of some two billion new consumers in China, India, countries that were part of the Soviet Union, and Middle East nations.
Corrigan spoke briefly Tuesday evening after receiving a lifetime achievement award from EE Times at the second Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards ceremony here. The first lifetime achievement award went to Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore last year.
"I don't buy the idea that the chip industry is limited to single-digit growth. That only comes if you extrapolate from the past few years. I am confident we can achieve 15 percent growth rates, driven by consumer spending," he said.
Corrigan, a native of Liverpool, England, came to the United States in 1960, during a time when Europe was graduating a surplus of engineers and scientists. He first worked at Transitron, which he said had sales of about $100 million in a semiconductor industry that had annual revenues of about $300 million then. A transistor sold for $50, and customers were limited to IBM Corp. and a few large telecommunications companies.
By contrast with that limited customer base, the semiconductor industry now enjoys a fast-expanding pool of consumers, who seek to buy televisions and MP3 players and other consumer goods.
"Today the business is driven by consumers, by those billion cellphones sold every year. Consumer demand is doubling, paced by innovations from American semiconductor companies and the Chinese getting us to aggressive price points in a matter of a couple of years for new product categories."