Hardware

A final word about the CNT disruption

In order to assess the ability to respond to the disruption of CNT technology, I have prepared a box score for vulnerability to potential disruptive threat assessment below. The resulting conclusion is that costs are the biggest factor affecting the semiconductor industries ability to react. As mentioned in question 1, the high costs associated with R&D and manufacturing in the semiconductor industry means that current facilities need to be planned well ahead of time. Uncertainty, risk, and complexity also make semiconductor road mapping tricky business. Box Score for vulnerability to disruptive technology threat – Semiconductor Manufacturing Firms Denial – 0 History – 0 Resistance to Change – 0 Mind Set – 0 Brand – 0 Sunk Costs – 10 Profitability – 10 Lack of Imagination – 0 The factors I will discuss therefore are: (1) costs and (2) uncertainty. Sunk costs problem implies that firms will not want to migrate…

Read more

More about the CNT Disruption

The industry I have chosen to investigate, and claim will be a big disruption in the future – although it isn’t poised for market yet – is the carbon nanotube (CNT) processor. Carbon nano technology was highlighted as a disruptive technology in a May 2013 report from McKinsey Quarterly (Manyika, 2013). The reason I believe it will be disruptive is because carbon nano processors have the potential to be much more energy efficient and compact (per processing capacity) than silicon based transistors. The infamous Moore’s Law has accurately predicted the improvements of silicon based semiconductor technology since it was stated by Moore in 1965 (Moore, 1965). While 9nm silicon chips are manufactured today, the the inherent quantum limitations posed by silicon-based semiconductor technology threaten to cause the development pace to drop below Moore’s expected level of improvement by 2020 at the 7nm scale (Merritt, 2013). On the other hand, a…

Read more

In order to ‘catch the wave’ of CNT technology, firms in the semiconductor industry will need to morph their business model to accommodate competition and new opportunities. The reason that I say “morph” the business model, instead of radically change it, is because the shift to CNT from silicon is not here yet, it is a long process forthcoming, and the shift will entail many years of extensive forecasting and planning. The stakes are high for semiconductor developers and manufacturers, so a careful balance between maintaining strong revenue streams, and investing it into R&D is more realistic strategy than a ‘flip the switch’ type of strategy. Although it is less likely that a new player will suddenly emerge onto the field and eat lunches (like Netflix is doing in online media) because of the high barrier to entry, patent activity should be carefully monitored and assessed to judge the relative…

Read more

Why Netflix has kicked ass

I propose three main reasons for Netflix rapid growth: (1) broad device and software architecture support, (2) contracts with top content producers, and (3) optimal timing with respect to scaling, product deployment and technology road mapping. I will outline the ways these three factors have contributed to Netflix growth below. 1. Broad device and software architecture support Netlflix supports a huge range of devices and operating systems. The astounding list includes: Windows and OSX, , ChromeOS, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, Amazon Kindle, and Nook, which pretty much rounds out the entire PC, notebook, smartphone, and tablet markets. Netflix was also able to secure streaming capabilities in a wide array of Blue-ray players, and smart TV’s and set-top-boxes. Once you include XBox, Playstation, Nintendo Wii, 3D, WiiU, TiVO and Boxee, it’s hard to find a digital device that doesn’t support Netflix. Forbes reports that Playstation is the most used device…

Read more

What are the big TV networks scared of most?

Major TV networks in several cases have been acquired by or merged with cable providers. Their business model is heavily integrated with cable and internet service. With respect to internet technology, their biggest fear may be the realization of a technology race coined “The Last Mile” (Cordeiro, 2003). The goal of ‘the last mile’ is for telecoms to deliver broadband wireless internet to homes. Intel had plans to help make that happen with WiMax but luckily for ISP’s have come up short so far. If telecoms were to successfully develop a superior last mile solution, consumers may switch from Comcast or AOL cable internet to Verizon or AT&T. So, wireless broadband is a potentially disruptive technology for cable service providers (Goodwins, 2005; The Economist 2002). With respect to online video content being a disruptive technology, TV networks biggest fear may that global broadband penetration, significant improvements in broadband speeds and…

Read more

Hon Hai Accumulating Intelligent Auto Patents

Luxgen is a new Taiwanese independent auto brand seeking to grow and add market share in Taiwan and abroad. Luxgen has shown propensity towards selling intelligent automobiles in a global market. More broadly, in the US autonomous vehicles have been licensed for testing in two US states to date, and Google’s Sergey Brin has publically predicted that autonomous vehicles will be ready for market in 5 years. Luxgen is owned by parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry Ltd. Hon Hai has started to accumulate patents related to autonomous vehicles starting in 2010 and their transportation related patent awards and their details are below in Figure 2 and Table 4. Secondly, top litigated software UPC classes for 2012 include several classes related to transportation technology. These litigation trends indicate that technological innovation in the transportation industry is high-value at this time. Figure: Hon Hai Transportation Related Patent Grants by Award Year…

Read more

The uncertainty in the dragons den of software patents may be driving many countries away from competing for patents. This is perhaps bad news for the US and further evidence that software patents restrict innovation. Considering that only 12.9% of software patents hold up upon litigation ( The study was carried out by John R. Allison, Mark A. Lemley & Joshua Walker for McCombs Graduate School of Business, University of Texas at Austin). The data are actually quite staggering. The chart above shows that the US holds approximately 55% of all USPTO patents in existence. On the other hand, The US holds almost 70% of all software patents in the US and even more staggeringly 85% of all business and commercial software patents.

Read more

TCT of Autonomous Vehicle IPCs

Is using Technological Cycle Time (TCT) an acceptable way to evaluate the vitality of an industry? If a firm was looking into expanding their core R&D competencies would an industry with a faster growth rate attract them? Rapid growth in an industry is like a forrest full of deer. Easy hunting and big rewards. On the other hand, stagnation can occur within a sector when serious technological hurdles start to slow the pace of development. In that situation, technological breakthroughs are needed in order to pave the way for continued growth (Kayal, 1999). According to Kayal’s theories and observations regarding technological progress in the superconductor and semiconductor fields, looking at the TCT for an industrial sector can give you an idea about the pace of technological development taking place. TCT of several IPCs is shown (thin colored lines) below. The overall range is generally between 5-8. All the IPC’s closely…

Read more

Autonomous Vehicles Patenting Activity

As autonomous vehicles get closer to a market reality, the patent engines will be firing up. What type of patenting activity can we see so far? Searching the USPTO abstracts for combinations of “autonomous”, “self- driving”, “car”, and “vehicle” I found a total of 271 patents. After organizing these patents into groups of their IPC class, I investigated each IPC class to determine if it is emerging or declining technology. Since vehicles such as submarines and airplanes have had autopilot functions since the 80’s there are some IPC classes such as “2D position controls” and “Steering Controls” that are already in decline. In order to find which IPC’s are emerging and which ones are in decline, I charted their growth of each IPC against it’s average over the 34 year period from 1976-2010. This is just a sample of the IPCs that I have investigated, however, it shows that some…

Read more

Coopetition in the LED Industry

Finding Cooperative partners is a growing trend in business. The benefits of collaboration are increasingly becoming an important part of enhancing a firms capabilities and cost cutting. Analyzing a firm’s patent portfolio can enable a firm to find potential collaborative partners in order to achieve these ends. Joint venture, licensing can then become part of a firms R&D strategy. Even competitors can become valuable cooperative partners. This presentation from my MBA course looks at the reasons for collaborating and compares two firms in the LED industry in Taiwan. Their portfolio analysis demonstrates how they evolved from competitors to cooperators. LINK TO THE PDF: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/45852891/Joseph%20Lee%20-%20Coopetition.pdf

Read more