NXP No.1 in MCU

By | April 28, 2017


The Freescale acquisition moved NXP from sixth in the 2015 MCU ranking to the top spot in 2016 with a marketshare of 19% ($2.9 billion).

About three-quarters of NXP’s 2015 microcontroller sales were 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs used in smartcards. After Freescale’s business was merged into NXP, smartcard MCUs accounted for a little over one-quarter of the company’s total microcontroller sales in 2016.


MCUs developed and introduced by Freescale are aimed at a wide range of embedded control applications, including significant amounts in automotive systems. NXP and Freescale both have developed extensive 32-bit MCUs with Cortex-M CPU design cores licensed from ARM in the U.K.

Microchip climbed from fifth in the 2015 MCU ranking to third in 2016 with sales increasing 50% to $2.0 billion following its $3.4 billion acquisition of Atmel in 2Q16.  Atmel was ranked ninth in MCU sales in 2015 ($808 million).

Prior to buying Atmel, Microchip had been the only major MCU supplier not licensing ARM CPU technology. For about 10-years, Microchip has developed and sold 32-bit MCUs, based on MIPS architecture.

Six months after completing the Atmel acquisition, Microchip said it would expand both its MIPS-based PIC32 MCU product line and Atmel’s ARM-based SAM series. Microchip has promised to “remain core agnostic, fitting the best solution with the right customer and for the right application.”

Cypress moved into eighth place in the MCU ranking with sales increasing 15% in 2016 to about $622 million. Cypress boosted its presence in MCUs when it acquired Spansion for about $5.0 billion in stock in March 2015.

Originally spun out of AMD as a NOR flash memory supplier, Spansion had purchased Fujitsu’ Microcontroller and Analog Business in 2013 for $110 million as part of its efforts to expand beyond nonvolatile storage ICs.

Spansion also licensed ARM’s 32-bit CPU cores for microcontrollers in 2013. Cypress’ increase in microcontroller sales was partly a result of having a full year of revenue from Spansion’s MCU business but also growth in the company’s PSoC products, which combine microcontroller functionality with user-configurable peripherals of mixed-signal and digital functions that are targeted at end-use applications.

The biggest decline in the MCU leader list was posted by Samsung, which saw its sales drop 14% in 2016, primarily because of weakness in the smartcard microcontroller market. Samsung sells MCUs to OEMs but also serves in-house needs for its own brands of consumer electronics, computers, and communications systems (i.e., smartphones).

Source: Electronics Weekly