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Robert Castellano  

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  • Buy Ultratech: Significant Upside As Foundry FinFET Delay Offers Compelling Entry Point [View article]
    This article is clearly a spin by you because of your long position on UTEK. The lithography space for FinFETS is made up nearly exclusively by ASML with some crumbs for Nikon. As you are aware and should be more honest in your articles because of your obsession with Intel, Intel invested billions of dollars in ASML because of its need for EUV and 450mm development for its devices, including FinFETS. So did Samsung and TSMC, the foundry you are speaking about. The last time UTEK had any revenues in leading edge IC manufacturing was back in 2003 when it sold $12 million in equipment, compared to $1.2 billion for both ASML and Nikon (Canon had $497 million in sales). Yes the UTEK tool is fine for back end, but sells for twice the price of a Suss tool. My data show Suss had a 56.1% share of the back-end packaging space, so please advise where you got the 80% share for UTEL you mention.
    Jul 23, 2013. 11:15 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Coming Of The 3D Age: Intel, Micron And SanDisk Position For The Win [View article]
    Let's go back to the early 80s, as I assume at least some of Intel's executives were working for the company then, which is about the time I started The Information Network to analyze the semi and equipment space. There was a new technology just coming out - lithography steppers. Intel at the time was the market leader in DRAMs, and had been using lithography scanners, an older technology. Intel started salivating - it couldn't get this new fangled pieces of equipment fast enough. In a short space, Intel (and other technology hungry US memory manufacturers) converted all their fabs to steppers. Bottom line, yields went from nearly 100% to nearly 0%. The Japanese, however, slowly converted parts of their fab to steppers. By 1985 Intel and the rest of the US manufacturers were out of business, losing the entire memory sector to the Japanese.
    I don't think the current Intel management want to rush into anything. I've been saying all year in Seeking Alpha articles that 3D is being pushed out because of problems, which impacted equipment vendors KLAC, AMAT, and LRCX. I also pointed out many years ago in Seeking Alpha articles that INTC jumped too quickly in the netbook market with its Atom processor and lost money on every chip made for several quarters.
    Again, I don't think the current Intel management want to rush into anything.
    Dec 5, 2014. 09:11 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Worst To First? Micron's NAND Strategy Revisited [View article]
    "Mark Durcan and his CEO peers at the other NAND producers are cautioning that the 3D transition is not going to be a rapid event?"
    There are numerous examples of companies jumping the gun and losing market share and revenue. Back in themid-1908s, when I started The Information Network, there was a move by US DRAM manufacturers to stepper lithography systems while the Japanese DRAM manufacturers stayed with the trusted scanners. The result, yields on steppers dropped from 90% to 20% and every DRAM manufacturer, including Intel, went out of the DRAM business while the Japanese umped to 100% market share. In 3D, it is Applied Materials that is pushing for 3D as a way of making money. AMAT got burnt in the late 1990s when it pushed 300mm wafers before the rest of the industry, specifically ASML, was ready. They got burnt again on 450mm the past few years (search Seeking Alpha for a recent article of mine on this topic). MU does not have the deep pockets of Samsung. Let them get the bugs out and then MU can move in.
    Aug 29, 2014. 12:56 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Solar Industry: U.S. Duties, WTO Ruling And The Obvious Winners [View article]
    The solar industry in the U.S. is replete with shortsightedness by both the U.S. government and manufacturers.

    The article discusses First Solar and SunPower. Yet both manufacture outside the U.S. - Malaysia and the Philippines. SunPower is 60% owned by the French company Total. So is it a U.S. company?
    The U.S.government made a huge mistake several years ago when it tried to expand the U.S. solar manufacturing base. The democratic-controlled House and Senate were more concerned with jobs, not manufacturing. So, foreign-owned companies came in and acquired the U.S. companies or established ones here because of government-backed incentives.
    Jul 19, 2014. 11:07 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Repercussions of a Deteriorating Semiconductor Industry [View article]
    There are several analytics we use in determining the overall health of a sector. We look at the supply side, down to the chip level of production. We speak with these companies as well as use their disclosure statements on earnings calls. We look at overall capacity utilization in the semi fabs. We look at ancillary technologies, such as software. Finally we use secondary published sources of information. One story does not make a complete picture, but when we look at the overall facets of the components that make up an "electronic gadget or personal computer" and all stories from different sources on different supply-chain components follow the same trend, it tells us something. Of course we use our proprietary LI to correlate with the overall macroeconomic state of the world economy. Examples of stories in the past few days are:

    Microsoft on Thursday reported weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue and again declined to offer a forecast for the current quarter.
    With sales dropping during its second quarter Nvidia's decided to write off a whole bunch of old chip inventory and take a write down against a proposed settlement of a chip packaging lawsuit hanging over it since late 2008.
    An overnight report from a Taiwan-based newspaper said flat panel makers are cutting orders to LED makers. That echoes concerns last month from Piper Jaffray, which warned bookings in the LED and solar-cell areas may have peaked.
    Asustek expected to revise down motherboard shipment target for 2010

    Call me on my cell at 610-737-7596 if you wish to discuss further
    Aug 17, 2010. 10:34 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China’s Domestic Solar Market: Time to Wake Up [View article]
    I don't get it. You state "So what will it take to rev up the Chinese domestic solar market? Technology transfer from firms like ESolar and First Solar? Or will it come from another more organic direction?" That means that the Chinese modules are good enough to be shipped to the US and Germany, as you state, but not good enough for the Chinese Market?
    Jan 14, 2010. 12:57 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Semicap Tracker - U.S. Semiconductor Utilization Rate Falls, Storm Clouds Ahead For KLA-Tencor [View article]
    I question why you base your outlook on KLAC based on TSMC filings. For example, AMAT announced in its recent earnings that sales would be flat to down 5 next quarter, but if you look at the TSMC chart, AMAT was a big winner of orders, of which money will be filtering into the company in the next quarter.
    So, even though TSMC has a large capex planned for 2014, you can't pick one quarter and extract a trend. Samsung and Intel are even larger than TSMC so to be thorough you need to include their announcements.
    To delve further, Samsung, INTC, and TSMC make up only 50% of capex spending for 2014.
    In other words, you pick one data point (TSMC) for one quarter and make a thesis on KLAC, when outlook from AMAT proves your theory is incomplete. This may be your first article. I hope your second goes further in depth and relates in 3 dimensions, not 1, and moves from 30,000 feet analysis.
    Nov 23, 2014. 09:49 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials: Little Steam Left, Take Profits Off The Table [View article]
    All the M&A will do is increase revenues, not profits. Both companies suffer from weak management, particularly AMAT. Both companies have been losing market share in the past few wears and to me, 1 loser + 1 loser does not = 1 winner. The company's S-1 Prospectus is indicative of how AMAT's spin has propped up the stock by "analysts" who really don't analyze by thinking for themselves. AMAT's spin on how the M&A will generate a hockey stick change in market share is just that - spin. I've written a series of articles on AMAT this year on Seeking Alpha. They can be read to delve deeper into what I'm saying in this brief comment. I've been analyzing AMAT and the semi equip industry since I started The Information Network in 1985, about the time most of these "analysts" were in elementary school.
    Nov 16, 2014. 09:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials' Spin Continues To Mislead Investors [View article]
    I own no stock and have no positions in any companies. Last time I did a trade was in 2008 and bought 100 shares of stock through a broker. I write these articles as a service to investors.
    Jun 10, 2014. 03:25 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Do Oil Price Spikes Cause Recessions? [View article]
    Bravo sethmcs, but how does one go about initiating a program? Congress. Obama, WTO, UN? Who?

    Alternative energy is a hope. I wrote in a blog a year or so ago on Seeking Alpha "What's worse, importing oil from OPEC or solar from Europe and Asia"? This administration is not initiating the infrastructure. Obama stropped drilling in the eastern Gulf, but hasn't implemented an alternative.
    Dec 24, 2010. 09:13 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correction in the Offing for Semis? [View article]
    What amazes me is how Gartner gives forecasts in tenths of percent and then makes huge changes 19.9 to 27.1 in their next announcement. On the one hand the precision in the numbers suggests they know what they're talking about and on the other the huge swings suggests they don't. I see this in every announcement they make. Problem is, the trade magazines publish it as gospel, and Wall Street analysts use their numbers all the time. Sadly it's the investor who suffers by these inaccuracies. I am 100.000% (is that precise enough?) the next Gartner release will again be in tenths of percents and there will be big changes in the numbers.
    Jun 10, 2010. 10:49 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • First Solar Sinks Upon Release of Annual Report [View article]
    Finally Wall Street is catching up with Main Street in the solar area. I've been negative on solar for more than a year and everyone out there is in denial. Read my articles on Seeking Alpha or my column on As First Solar rightly points out, much of the activity has been based on feed in tariffs. Countries are BROKE. PV companies are nearly all reporting red ink last quarter. Capacity utilization is below 50%. Also, First Solar points out its modules are 75 watts. This compares to polysilicon modules coming out of China at close to 300 watts. That means one needs to connect 4 of First Solar's panels to make up the wattage of 1 Chinese panel. First Solar has relied on low-cost production, but with the price of polysilicon so low and labor so cheap in China, it is going to be difficult for them, as well as other thin film PV manufacturers to compete.
    Feb 23, 2010. 09:57 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • First Solar Guides In-Line and Disappoints Again [View article]
    Solar is another example of the disconnect between what is happening on Wall Street and what is happening on Main Street. Solar is primarily funded by governments whether its stimulus, tariff, etc. Governments are broke. And like any other commodity, low cost is the key and when the Chinese can put 600 people on a line and pay them10 cents an hour, other countries cannot compete. The U.S. solar stimulus is not working - we need solar jobs here. As I said before in an article in Seeking Alpha "What's worse buying oil from OPEC or solar from Euroasia"? Since the time I wrote that, I guess we can drop the Euro part.
    Feb 19, 2010. 10:32 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials: Displays, Solar Panels and Correcting Tom Friedman [View article]
    "Returning for a moment to Thomas Friedman's chagrin. Friedman took a similar tour of Applied last week and in an editorial in Tuesday's New York Times lamented the lack of a Sun Fab plant producing PV in the U.S. and the necessity of importing PV panels from China, equating that to importing Mideast oil. Which is a lazy parallel on his part".

    What do you mean a lazy parallel on his part? I used the expression in March in a Seeking Alpha article entitled "
    Which Is Worse: Buying Solar Panels from Eurasia or Oil from OPEC?" which Friedman lifted from me. Read it and understand the logic behind what I said and what he referred to.

    Why are you being judgmental? Remember, you're the ones that put your Seeking Alpha articles in the chip section when PVs are not chips, (read my comment about it in a recent article by greentechmedia in Seeking Alpha) so if you don't know the difference between a chip and a PV except that Si is the common denominator, clearly you are not in a position to judge the accuracy of intuitive comments.
    Sep 18, 2009. 04:01 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]
    I like the way you detail the info, but your arguments have been touched upon before. I the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car" one expert notes that "all you're doing with an electric car is moving the smokestack".

    Also, in a SeekingAlpha article wrote on March 19 "Which Is Worse: Buying Solar Panels from Eurasia or Oil from OPEC?" I point out that we need to have and keep an infrastructure here in the US, otherwise all we are doing is importing a different form of energy from another country - solar in my argument, batteries in yours.
    Aug 30, 2009. 10:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment