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Old 6th Dec 2017, 6:53 am   #1
Radio Wrangler
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Default Broadcom/Avago/HP diodes and MMICs

A heads-up for RF designers...

A large number of RF gain block RF/microwave ICs were made obsolete about 18 months ago on the grounds that turnover was insufficient to justify continued production. I and others spent considerable effort redesigning around their loss.

They've just issued another obsoletion list and it's huge. It looks like they're dumping all their amplifier and diode types.

Classics like the HP-2800 family of schottky diodes moved to SMT packages only some time ago, but at least you could get them. Now, it looks like they are all going.

It looks like someone has decided that if a part doesn't go in a laptop, tablet, or cellphone, it's going.

The maker was originally HP's internal RF semiconductor facility. Then HP ws split, they went part of Agilent. Agilent sold them off and they were bought by a financial consortium nd operated under the name Avago. A couple of years ago it looked like they were bought out by Broadcom, then explanations surfaced saying that Avago had bought Broadcom, which seemed a bit like the minnow swallowing the shark, and then deciding to rename themselves Broadcom.

I wonder what really happened, because it now looks like the Avago product line is being dumped.

David
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 7:51 am   #2
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Default Re: Broadcom/Avago/HP diodes and MMICs

Good question. Were the Broadcom HSMS diodes previously Avago? I bought a ton of these recently to build mixers. Infineon and ON seem to sell equivalents however.

I wonder if all of this is the push to move RF stuff into ASICs to get it into the digital domain quickly (then you can sell development kits)
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Old 6th Dec 2017, 12:14 pm   #3
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Default Re: Broadcom/Avago/HP diodes and MMICs

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Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
Then HP was split: they went part of Agilent.
Which I thought was a sad event - along with the disappearance of Compaq. However, in the ever-changing technological market-place - such as this one - where change can be so rapid, to survive, some firms do indeed need to make such changes. In a phrase, 'adapt or perish'.
Some time ago, there was an interesting thread about the disappearance of long-established British electronics manufacturing companies - and the reasons why. So perhaps HP saw the writing on the wall that those UK companies didn't - and acted accordingly.

Al.
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Old 7th Dec 2017, 8:08 am   #4
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Default Re: Broadcom/Avago/HP diodes and MMICs

It was a particularly sad event for those working there. If you did anything particularly good for HP, you'd get a number of stock options as a reward. This meant that a number of shares were put aside for you to buy any time in the following ten years, at the price of the day the options were granted. If the stock price went up, as it used to do quite steadily, you could make a fair bit of money. At worst, you did nothing and let them expire at the end of 10 years, so you lost nothing. It was an incentive for people to want the firm to be successful.

This scheme was controlled by a contract. If you retired, the options would continue up to 3 years into retirement subject to the 10 year overall limit. If you left the firm for any other reason, they expired. A form of 'golden handcuff' for people the company really wanted to keep.

So, one day in 1999 we all worked for HP and all was normal. The next day we all did the same jobs but the sign over the door had changed to Agilent, but silently and without any fuss, all our stock options had expired - we no longer worked for HP. There was certainly some fuss when this aspect was noticed!

Although we didn't lose money we'd actually received, and the amounts were uncertain, we'd lost a bonus that was expected to make individuals thousands of pounds. Nothing like the scale of these things in the banking sector, but very good ifor engineering.

Faced with discovering that all the high performers of their workforce had just been handed a massive disincentive, Agilent set up its own stock option scheme to replace the HP one. But the Agilent options were set at the current Agilent price (So growth of HP from option issue date to the split was lost) yet the expiry date of the Agilent options was set to the same as the expiry of the original HP options. Shortly after this in 2001 the dotcom bubble burst, the telecomms industry shrank and share prices collapsed. These new share options were fixed at around $80 per share to take up, and were worth about $12. I don't know of anyone who exercised them.

We still had our jobs and we still had the same salaries but with the shrinking market, jobs started to go. We'd taken voluntary pay cuts, which was how we'd handled ond survived previous down-turns, but this one was deeper and far longer.

To put it in perspective, friends at GEC-Marconi had it far worse.

David
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 11:17 am   #5
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Default Re: Broadcom/Avago/HP diodes and MMICs

Quote:
So, one day in 1999 we all worked for HP and all was normal. The next day we all did the same jobs but the sign over the door had changed to Agilent, but silently and without any fuss, all our stock options had expired - we no longer worked for HP. There was certainly some fuss when this aspect was noticed!
I am surprised that the TUPE regulations did not cover this. Perhaps these options were not part of your contract of employment but just a 'gift' from your employer?
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