We design, develop, manufacture and sell a wide range of semiconductor integrated circuit (“IC”) products and capacitive touch solutions, including microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (“RF”) components. Leveraging a broad intellectual property (“IP”) portfolio, we supply our customers complete system solutions, with particular emphasis on solutions incorporating microcontrollers. These complex system-on-a-chip solutions are manufactured using our leading-edge process technologies, including complementary metal oxide semiconductor (“CMOS”), double-diffused metal oxide semiconductor (“DMOS”), logic, CMOS logic, bipolar, bipolar CMOS (“BiCMOS”), silicon germanium (“SiGe”), SiGe BiCMOS, analog, bipolar double diffused CMOS and radiation tolerant process technologies. We develop these process technologies ourselves to ensure they provide the maximum possible performance. In 2009, we fabricated approximately 88% of our products in our own wafer fabrication facilities, or “fabs.” We believe our ICs enable our customers to rapidly introduce leading edge electronic products that are differentiated by higher performance, advanced security features, lower cost, smaller size, longer battery life and more memory. Our products are used primarily in the following markets: industrial, consumer electronics, automotive, wireless communications, computing, storage, printing, security, military and aerospace.
We were originally incorporated in California in December 1984. In October 1999, we were reincorporated in Delaware. Our principal offices are located at 2325 Orchard Parkway, San Jose, California 95131, and our telephone number is (408) 441-0311. Our website is located at: www.atmel.com; however, the information in, or that can be accessed through, our website is not part of this report. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to such reports are available, free of charge, through the “Investors” section of our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC.
Our products consist primarily of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory, radio frequency and system-level integration semiconductor solutions.
Our business is organized into four operating segments (see Note 14 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion). Each of our business units offer products that compete in one or more of the end markets described below under the caption “Principal Markets and Customers.”
Microcontrollers segment includes a variety of proprietary and standard microcontrollers, the majority of which contain embedded nonvolatile memory, integrated analog peripherals and capacitive touch sensing libraries. This segment also includes products with military and aerospace applications. In March 2008, we acquired Quantum Research Group Ltd. (“Quantum”), a supplier of capacitive sensing IP solutions. Results from the acquired operations are considered complementary to sales of microcontroller products and are included in this segment. Our Microcontroller segment comprised 38% of net revenues in the year ended December 31, 2009.
Nonvolatile Memories segment consists predominantly of serial interface electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (“SEEPROM”) and serial interface Flash memory products. This segment also includes parallel interface Flash memories as well as mature parallel interface electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (“EEPROM”) and erasable programmable read-only memory (“EPROM”) devices. This segment also includes products with military and aerospace applications. Our Nonvolatile Memories segment comprised 24% of net revenues in the year ended December 31, 2009.
Radio Frequency (“RF”) and Automotive segment includes products designed for the automotive industry. This segment produces and sells wireless and wired devices for industrial, consumer and automotive applications and it also provides foundry services which produce radio frequency products for the mobile telecommunications market. Our RF and Automotive segment comprised 12% of net revenues in the year ended December 31, 2009.
Application Specific Integrated Circuit (“ASIC”) segment includes customer and application specific integrated circuits designed to meet specialized single-customer requirements for their high performance devices in a broad variety of specific applications. This segment also encompasses a range of products which provide security for digital data transactions, including smart cards for mobile phones, set top boxes, banking and national identity cards. We also develop application specific standard products (“ASSP”) for high reliability space applications, power management and secure crypto memory products. Our ASIC segment comprised 26% of net revenues in the year ended December 31, 2009.
Within each operating segment, we offer our customers products with a range of speed, density, power usage, specialty packaging, security and other features.
Our Microcontroller segment offers customers a full range of products to serve the consumer, automotive, industrial, telecom and PC peripheral end markets for embedded controls. Our product portfolio has four major Flash based microcontroller architectures targeted at the high volume embedded control market: our proprietary 8-bit and 32-bit AVR® platforms, our embedded 32-bit ARM-based product family and older 8051 8-bit based industry standard microcontroller products.
Embedded control systems typically incorporate a microcontroller as the principal active component. A microcontroller is a self-contained computer-on-a-chip consisting of a CPU, non-volatile program memory (Flash and EEPROM), random access memory (“RAM”) for data storage and various input/output peripheral capabilities. In addition to the microcontroller, a complete embedded control system incorporates application-specific software and may include specialized peripheral device controllers and internal or external non-volatile memory components, such as Flash and EEPROMs, to store additional program software and various analog and interface products.
Atmel AVR. Our largest microcontroller product offering is based on the 8-bit AVR architecture. The tinyAVR®, megaAVR®, XMEGAtm AVR, AVR Wireless products, AVR USB products, AVR Smart Battery products and the AVR Touch User Interface products are all product families using the AVR 8-bit RISC CPU which allow customers to minimize power consumption while obtaining maximum performance and ease of programming. Our AVR XMEGAtm picoPower® microcontroller family consumes the least power in the industry, enabling longer operating times in hand-held and battery powered applications. AVR32 is our proprietary microcontroller architecture which provides customers with higher, 32-bit performance when 8-bit power is no longer sufficient. The AVR32 product offering is targeted at the industrial, automotive and ultra low power segments of the 32-bit market. AVR microcontroller products include embedded non-volatile memory and are available with a complete selection of analog and digital interfaces. We offer over 100 different products in the AVR family.
Atmel QTouch® and maXTouchtm. With the acquisition of Quantum in 2008, we have become a leading supplier of robust, capacitive sensing solutions for touch screens and other touch controls.
User interfaces are the critical factor in making electronic products appealing to consumers. Our touch screen devices include ICs for creating economical, elegant, and easy to use touch screens that respond to a wide variety of touch types and gestures. They are capable of differentiating between single and multiple-finger touch, and support tap, press, flick, pinch (zoom in), stretch (zoom out), rotate, press and tap, press and double tap, press and flick, press and drag, and multiple-finger drag. We offer a comprehensive range of touch screen controllers for use by customers, such as touch buttons, keyboards, sliders and wheels as well as single-chip unlimited touch screen solutions.
QTouch and maXTouch devices are digital charge-transfer ICs designed to detect touch using a single connection between the sensor chip and a simple key electrode. The maXTouch family of touchscreen controllers offer exceptional performance and low power consumption in a single IC. The maXTouch devices support an unlimited number of touches enhancing the user interface and the way users interact with electronic products. Built in gestures and the ability to ignore unintentional touches result in a user interface that is intuitive and reliable. The QTouch chips are best suited for low key count applications up to 10 keys. QMatrix® devices are digital share-transfer (QT) ICs designed to detect touch using a scanned, passive matrix or electrode sets to achieve a large number of touch keys driven by a single chip. QWheel® and QSlide® devices are QT ICs based on Quantum’s QTouch technology to implement scrolling functionality. QFieldtm and QTwotm devices are QT ICs enabling Single and Two Touchtm touch screens.
ARM. Our ARM-based microcontrollers are designed utilizing on the standard 32-bit ARM7tm, ARM9tm, ARM 11tm and ARM Cortextm architectures, where we offer a range of products with and without embedded nonvolatile memories. Our SAM7 and SAM9 (Smart Arm Micro) products offer high performance 32-bit microcontrollers with a variety of complex analog and digital peripherals integrated on the same chip. For customers demanding the highest performance products, we offer an ARM 11 product family. Our ARM customers save significant development time by using standard ARM software and the other development tools widely available.
8051. Our 8051 8-bit microcontroller product offering is based on the standard 8051 CPU and ranges from products containing 2 Kbytes of embedded Flash memory to the largest products offering 128 Kbytes of embedded Flash memory. The 8051 products address a significant portion of the 8-bit microcontroller market in which the customer already has an installed software and application base using the standard 8051 architecture.
Increased demand for reliable, flexible and low cost controls in the electronics industry is being met by microcontrollers which replace mechanical and other passive controls in a wide range of applications such as lighting, automobile control functions, home automation, wireless communications, white goods and user interfaces in all products requiring human interaction.
Serial Interface Products. Our serial interface products evolved from our EEPROM and Flash memory technology expertise and were developed to meet the market demand for delivery of nonvolatile memory content through specialized, low pin-count interfaces and packages. Our serial interface product portfolio encompasses the industry’s largest offering of Serial EEPROMs and two complete families of Serial Flash memories. From a system cost and silicon area perspective, it is generally more economical to employ Flash memory technology for densities of 512-Kbits and above, and the similarity of the feature sets for our Serial EEPROM and Serial Flash memories allows our customers to easily upgrade from densities as low as 1-Kbits to as high as 64-Mbits.
Serial EEPROMs. We currently offer three complete families of Serial EEPROMs supporting industry standard 2-wire, 3-wire and SPI protocols. Primarily used to store personal preference data and configuration/setup data, our Serial EEPROM products can be found in a multitude of consumer, industrial and automotive applications ranging from everything such as WLAN adapters and LCD TVs to video game systems and GPS devices. Because of our advanced process technology, diverse package options and broad density offerings, we have maintained the market leadership position for the last several years.
Atmel DataFlash®. The DataFlash® family of Serial Flash memories delivers proven, reliable solutions to store varying amounts of granular data or to store both embedded program code and data while utilizing very small, low pin-count packages. DataFlash devices are the industry’s most sophisticated and feature-rich Serial Flash memories and are designed to enable advanced features and functionality in a variety of high-volume products and applications. By using DataFlash memories, customers can minimize pin counts, simplify circuit boards, and reduce power consumption, all of which contribute to higher performance and lower system costs. DataFlash products are used in a wide variety of applications such as digital answering machines, fax machines, personal computers, printers, radar detectors, security systems and energy meters.
Small size is important to our customers and we are continuously developing smaller packages for our serial Flash memories using, for example, a cost-effective ball grid array and a variety of dual footprint non-leaded packages to help our customers produce smaller products. We also offer the full range of industry standard SOIC, PDIP and TSSOP packages.
SPI Flash. Our newest Serial Flash family offers pin-compatible devices to our entire family of SPI Serial EEPROMs and provides customers with one of the highest performance serial memory solutions in the industry. Our SPI Flash family’s enhanced architecture and features allow the devices to be used in a wider array of applications compared to devices from competing suppliers while also providing customers with a more flexible, easier-to-implement solution. Like our Serial EEPROMs and DataFlash devices, our SPI Flash products utilize ultra-small packages like DFNs (dual flat no-lead) and CSPs (chip-scale packages) in addition to industry standard SOICs. SPI Flash is primarily used for code storage in a diverse set of consumer and industrial applications including high-volume products such as desktop and notebook computers, hard disk drives, CD/DVD Read/Write drives, Blu-ray and DVD players, MP3 players, digital picture frames, set-top boxes (STBs) and LCD TVs.
Parallel Flash Memory Products. Flash represents a prevailing technology used in nonvolatile memory devices that can be reprogrammed within a system. We currently manufacture Parallel Flash products utilizing 0.18- and 0.13-micron process technologies.
The flexibility and ease of use of our Parallel Flash memories make them attractive solutions in systems where program information stored in memory must be rewritten after the system leaves its manufacturing environment. The reprogrammability of Flash memories also serves to support later system upgrades, field diagnostic routines and in-system reconfiguration, as well as capturing voice and data messages for later review. These products are generally used in handsets, personal computers, cable modems, set-top boxes and DVD players.
Parallel EEPROMs. We are a leading supplier of high performance, in-system programmable Parallel EEPROMs. We believe that our Parallel EEPROM products represent the industry’s most complete offering, and we are the sole-source supplier for several customers for certain Parallel EEPROM devices. In the design of this product family, we have emphasized high reliability achieved through the incorporation of on-chip error detection and correction features. Parallel EEPROMs offer high endurance programmability and are highly flexible, offering faster data transfer rates and higher memory densities when compared to some serial interface architectures. These products are generally used to store frequently updated data in communications infrastructure equipment and avionics navigation systems.
EPROMs. The worldwide one-time programmable (OTP) EPROM market is intensely competitive and characterized by commodity pricing. Our strategy is to target the high-performance end of this market by offering faster speed, higher density and lower power usage devices. These products are generally used to store the operating programs of embedded microcontroller or DSP-based systems, such as hard disk drives, CD-ROM drives and modems.
RF and Automotive
Automotive RF. With our automotive RF products we are one of the leading suppliers for automobile access solutions. Our products include complete keyless entry solutions for wireless passive entry go systems, and the corresponding discrete ICs for the receivers and transceivers for the access control unit and tire pressure monitoring systems built into cars. Our innovative immobilizer ICs, which incorporate the widely accepted advanced encryption standard (“AES”), offer car theft protection. In addition, we offer a wide portfolio of products targeted at keyless automobile starting systems.
High Voltage. Our high voltage products ICs are manufactured utilizing mixed signal high voltage technology, providing analog-bipolar, high voltage DMOS power and CMOS logic function on a single chip. These ICs withstand and operate at high voltages and can be connected directly to the battery of a car, with a focus on intelligent load drivers, local interconnect network (“LIN”) in-vehicle networking and battery management hybrid cars products. The applications for the load drivers are primarily motor and actuator drivers and smart valve controls. The new line of battery management ICs target Li-ion battery systems that are becoming the standard for full electric and hybrid cars. Our popular and rugged LIN in-vehicle networking product line helps car makers to simplify the wire harness by using the LIN bus which is rapidly gaining popularity. Many body electronic applications can be connected and controlled via the LIN network bus, including switches, actuators and sensors. Our LIN devices currently are the benchmark for robustness in the automotive industry, which we attribute to innovative design techniques as well as to our proprietary silicon on-insulator (“SOI”) process technology.
RF. The RF product line includes our low frequency RF identification tag ICs which are targeted towards the access control market and the livestock and pet tagging markets. These ICs are used in combination with a reader IC to make possible contactless identification for a wide variety of applications. Our RF products also target the industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) RF market, including wireless remote control applications such as home alarm systems, garage door openers, remote controlled toys, wireless game consoles and many others.
DVD. Our laser diode drivers power the laser diodes used in CD and DVD drives for computer and consumer applications. We offer drivers for read only and read-write optical drives, including the new high density Blu-Ray standards. Our proprietary process technology has enabled us to develop photo diodes that are sensitive to blue as well as to red laser light. Our patent pending “open QFN” packaging technology enables cost efficient production of the photo detector ICs for the DVD and Blu-Ray standard.
Mixed Signal. Our broadcast radio products cater primarily for the automotive market. They include high performance receivers for AM/FM and HD car radio, an industry leading portfolio of highly integrated antenna drivers, which enable small form factor car antennas and a complete chipset for the developing digital audio broadcasting/digital multimedia broadcasting radio market. In addition, our infrared (“IR”) receivers are among the leaders in the highly competitive market for IR remote control systems.
Custom ASICs. We design, manufacture and market ASICs to meet customer requirements for high-performance logic devices in a broad variety of customer-specific applications. Our SiliconCity® design platform utilizes our extensive libraries of qualified analog and digital IP blocks. This approach integrates system functionality into a single chip based on this unique architecture platform combined with one of the richest libraries of qualified IP blocks in the industry. By combining a variety of logic functions on a single chip, costs are reduced, design risk is minimized, time-to-market is accelerated and performance can be optimized.
We design and manufacture ASICs in a range of products that includes standard digital and analog functions, as well as nonvolatile memory elements and large pre-designed macro functions all integrated on a single chip. We work closely with customers to develop and manufacture custom ASIC products so that we can provide them with IC solutions on a sole-source basis. Our ASIC products are targeted primarily at high-volume customers whose applications require high-speed, high-density or low and mixed-voltage devices such as in the medical, consumer and security markets.
Atmel CAP®. Our CAP customizable microcontroller combines, on a single IC, an ARM-based microcontroller system-on-chip with a high-density Metal Programmable Block that enables customers to add application-specific logic. This hybrid device significantly reduces design time and cost compared to an equivalent ASIC, but commands a comparable unit price. CAP is aimed at medium-to high-volume customers, many of who are replacing a field programmable gate array (“FPGA”)-plus-microcontroller combination.
Secure Microcontrollers. Our advanced design capability expertise in non-volatile memory technology and experience in security products positions us as one of the world’s pre-eminent suppliers of secure microcontroller-based ICs. Our Smart Card ICs primarily serve the cellular phone, banking, health card, national ID card and set-top box markets.
We also produce a broad portfolio of secure ICs, including CryptoMemory® and CryptoRF® and smart card reader chips. Our secure microcontrollers feature dual contact/contactless products that comply with the ISO-14443, Universal Serial Bus (“USB”) Full-Speed interface and Serial Peripheral Interface (“SPI”) Protocols.
We combine dense nonvolatile memory technology and high performance AVR and ARM microcontroller cores to offer cost-effective solutions for demanding applications such as global system for mobile computing (“GSM”) subscriber identity module (“SIM”) cards and multi-application smart cards running on open platforms like Java®.
We have also introduced solutions with multimedia and wireless communications devices targeting home entertainment, security and automotive applications where information security is a primary objective.
FPGAs. Our FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), with FreeRAM and Cache Logic®, provide efficient memory management and a reconfigurable solution for adaptive digital signal processing and other computationally intensive applications. We also offer a family of radiation hardened FPGAs for space applications. Our family of reconfigurable FPGA Serial Configuration EEPROMs can replace one-time-programmable devices for FPGAs from other vendors. In addition we offer FPGA-to-gate array conversions for both military and commercial applications.
In January 2010, we announced that following a comprehensive review of alternatives for our ASIC business, we would continue to explore the potential sale of our Smart Card (SMS) business located in Rousset, France and East Kilbride, UK and that we intended to discontinue potential sale discussions for our Customer Specific Products (CSP) and Aerospace businesses.