Halla Predicts a Semi Boom
In his Comdex keynote, National Semi CEO Brian Halla says the next boom in semiconductor spending, driven by ubiquitous always-connected devices, will reach its peak growth rate next June.Offering a new law of technical progress to his Comdex keynote audience this week, National Semiconductor Corp. President and CEO Brian Halla asserted that the cost per bit of Internet connections falls by one-half every year--and that the next boom in semiconductor spending, driven by ubiquitous always-connected devices, will reach its peak growth rate next June (on June 21, to be precise). Hallas statement--dubbed "Bahais Law" in honor of National Semiconductor fellow Dr. Ahmad Bahai--was one of four forces that Halla named as propelling the coming surge in novel devices and applications. The "China Effect" of an exploding Asian market will also make this technology boom unlike any other, he predicted. Perhaps most important, though, in enabling new levels of connection and interaction may be what Halla called "Free Radios": low-power, ultra-wideband transceivers tucked into the corners of the microchips that will be in devices anyway, and that will add the capability of always-on connection (the fourth new force) at essentially zero cost.
Halla compared the boom-bust cycles of semiconductors to those of every other industry thats produced a new economic infrastructure. Construction of transcontinental railroads, he observed, created a huge boom in capacity that turned out to be mostly needed to meet the demands of that construction effort--and that was mostly surplus once that job was done.