STMicroelectronics is an French-Italian electronics and semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
While STMicroelectronics corporate headquarters and the headquarters for EMEA region are based in Geneva, the holding company, STMicroelectronics N.V. is registered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The company’s US headquarters is in Coppell, Texas. Headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region is based in Singapore whilst Japan and Korea operations are headquartered in Tokyo. The company headquarters for the Greater China region is in Shanghai.
STMicroelectronics was formed in June 1987 by the merger of semiconductor companies SGS Microelettronica (Società Generale Semiconduttori) of Italy and Thomson Semiconducteurs, the semiconductor arm of France's Thomson. At the time of the merger the company was known as SGS-THOMSON but took its current name in May 1998 following the withdrawal of Thomson SA as an owner.
SGS Microelettronica and Thomson Semiconducteurs were both long-established semiconductor companies.SGS Microelettronica originated in 1972 from a previous merger of two companies:
- ATES (Aquila Tubi e Semiconduttori), a vacuum tube and semiconductor maker headquartered in the Abruzzese city of l'Aquila, which in 1961 changed its name to Azienda Tecnica ed Elettronica del Sud and relocated its manufacturing plant to the outskirts of the Sicilian city of Catania
- Società Generale Semiconduttori (founded in 1957 by Adriano Olivetti).
Thomson Semiconducteurs was created in 1982 by the French government's widespread nationalisation of industries. It included:
After its creation by merger in 1987, SGS-Thomson was ranked 14th among the top 20 semiconductor suppliers with sales of around US$850 million. The company has participated in the consolidation of the semiconductor industry since its formation, with acquisitions including:
On 8 December 1994, the company completed its initial public offering on the Paris and New York stock exchanges. Owner Thomson SA sold its stake in the company in 1998 when the company also listed on the Borsa Italiana in Milan.
Buy-out of VLSI Vision Ltd.
2002, Motorola and TSMC join ST and Philips in a new technology partnership. The Crolles2 Alliance is created with a new 12" wafer manufacturing facility located in Crolles (France).
By 2005, STMicroelectronics was ranked fifth, behind Intel, Samsung, Texas Instruments and Toshiba, but ahead of Infineon, Renesas, NEC, NXP, and Freescale. The company is the largest European semiconductors supplier, ahead of Infineon and NXP (see Semiconductor sales leaders by year).
Early in 2007, NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductors) and Freescale (formerly Motorola Semiconductors) decide to stop their participation in Crolles2 Alliance. Under the terms of the agreement the Alliance came to an end on 31 December 2007.
May 22, 2007; ST and Intel create a joint venture in the memory application called Numonyx. This new company merged ST and Intel Flash Memory activities.
Semiconductor market consolidation continued with ST and NXP announcing on April 10, 2008, the creation of a new joint venture of their mobile activities, with ST owning 80% of the new company and NXP 20%. This joint venture began on August 20, 2008.
On February 10, 2009 ST Ericsson, a joint venture bringing together ST-NXP Wireless and Ericsson Mobile Platforms, was established.
In 2011, STMicroelectronics announced the creation of a joing lab with Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa. The lab will focus on research and innovation in bio-robotics, smart systems and microelectronics. Past collaborations with Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna included DustBot, a platform that integrated self-navigating "service robots" for waste collection.
As of 2005 the shareholders were:
In 2010 Finmeccanica sold its 8.1% ownbership to the Italian government investor Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.
ST consists of five product groups. Each group is composed of several divisions or business units. Each division is responsible for the design, industrialization, manufacturing and marketing for its own product portfolio. Operations are assisted by a central R&D organisation and the local sales offices.
- Mobile Multimedia Communication: Consumer, multimedia, wireless and wireline products. Digital consumer application specific standard products (ASSPs) such as coders and decoders for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Wireless ASICs.Smartcards. Electronic Passports.
- Memory Product Group: stand-alone memory chips (EEPROM, Flash memories (NAND & NOR), Serial Flash memories and Smartcards). The NOR and NAND Flash memory is now under Numonyx
- Automotive Product Group: Analog and digital chips for the automotive market. Products include car entertainment and digital radio broadcasting integrated circuits; and microcontrollers for automotive, power trains, safety and other application specific products.
- Micro, Power and Analog Group: Analog and power circuits and microcontrollers. Microcontrollers: ST6, ST7, µPSD, ST9, ST10, STR7, STR9, STM8, STM32 STM-MCU. Discrete semiconductor products.
- Computer Peripheral Group: Chips for computer peripherals (hard disk drive controllers, printers, etc.). Computer peripheral ASICs (such as hard disk drives and printers).
- Front End Technology and Manufacturing: research and development. The company has 16 research and development units and 39 design and application centers.
STMicroelectronics has been involved in developing MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) since 2001. This research and development was initially done at the company's Castelletto site but since its closure in June 2006, MEMS activities have moved to the Agrate main fab.
Following an earlier failure, STMicroelectronics has stayed out of the volatile markets for DRAM and PC microprocessors. In 1994, it attempted to launch compatible Intel 80486 microprocessors in partnership with American company Cyrix. One model only was completed, the 1995 Cyrix M1 microprocessor, which was intended to compete with Intel's Pentium family.
It did achieve some success, however, in the PC-compatible x86 embedded systems market with its STPC SoC line, culminating in the 486-class STPC Atlas, which reached end-of-life in 2008.
Unlike so-called fabless semiconductor companies, STMicroelectronics owns and operates its own semiconductor wafer fabs. The company owned five 8 inch (200 mm) wafer fabs and one 12 inch (300 mm) wafer fab in 2006. Most of the production is scaled at 0.18 µm, 0.13 µm, 90 nm and 65 nm (measurements of transistor gate length). STMicroelectronics also owns back-end plants, where silicon dies are assembled and bonded into plastic or ceramic packages.
Major sites include:
Employing 6,000 staff, the Milan facilities match Grenoble in importance. Agrate Brianza (map), employs around 4000 staff and is a historical base of the company (ex SGS). The site has several fab lines (including an 8 inch (200 mm) fab) and an R&D center. Castelletto, employs 300 to 400 staff and hosts some divisions and R&D centers.
The Catania plant in Sicily employs 5,000 staff and hosts several R&D centers and divisions, focusing on flash memory technologies as well as two fabs. The plant was launched in 1961 by ATES to supply under licensing to RCA of the US and initially using Germanium. The site's two major wafer fabs are * an 8 inch (200 mm) fab, opened in April 1997 by Romano Prodi, president of the Italian council and a 12 inch (300 mm) fab that has never been completed and which was transferred in its current state to Numonyx in 2008.
ST employs some 1,500 people in Malta, making it the largest private sector employer. It is also the country's leading exporter.
Grenoble is one of the company's most important R&D centres, employing around 6,000 staff. The Polygone site employs 2200 staff and is one of the historical bases of the company (ex SGS). All the historical wafer fab lines are now closed but the site hosts the headquarters of many divisions (marketing, design, industrialization) and an important R&D center, focused on silicon and software design and fab process development.
The Crolles site hosts an 8 inch (200 mm) and a 12 inch (300 mm) fab and was originally built as a common R&D center for submicrometre technologies as part of the 1990 Grenoble 92 partnership between SGS-Thomson and CNET, the R&D center of French telecom company France Telecom. The 8 inch (200 mm) fab, known as Crolles 1, is the company's first and was built as part of a 1991 partnership between SGS-Thomson and Philips to develop new manufacturing technologies. Crolles 1 was opened on 9 September 1993 by Gérard Longuet, French minister for industry.
The 12 inch (300 mm) fab was inaugurated by French president Jacques Chirac, on 27 February 2003. It includes a R&D center which focuses on developing new nanometric technology processes for 90 nm to 32 nm scale using 12 inch (300 mm) wafers and it was developed for The Crolles 2 Alliance. This alliance of STMicroelectronics, TSMC, NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips semiconductor) and Freescale (formerly Motorola semiconductor) partnered in 2002 to develop the facility and to work together on process development. The technologies developed at the facility were also used by global semiconductor foundry TSMC of Taiwan, allowing TSMC to build the products developed in Crolles on behalf of the Alliance partners who required such foundry capacity.
Employing around 3,000 staff, Rousset hosts several division headquarters including smartcards, microcontrollers, and EEPROM as well as several R&D centers. Rousset also hosts an 8 inch (200 mm) fab which was opened on 15 May 2000 by French prime minister Lionel Jospin.
The site opened in 1979 as a 4 inch (100 mm) fab opertated by Eurotechnique, a joint venture between Saint Gobain of France and National Semiconductor of the US. Rousset was sold to Thomson-CSF in 1982 as part of the French government's 1981-82 nationalization of several industries. As part of the nationalisation, a former Thomson plant in the center of Aix-en-Provence operating since the 1960s was closed and staff were transferred to the new Rousset site. The original 4 inch (100 mm) fab was upgraded into 5 inch (130 mm) and later 6 inch (150 mm) fab in 1996. It is now being shut down.
In 1988, a small group of employees from the Thomson Rousset plant (including the director, Marc Lassus) founded a start-up company, Gemalto (formerly known as Gemplus) which became a leader in the smartcard industry.
Employing 1500 staff, this site hosts a fab and R&D centers.
Ang Mo Kio, Singapore
In 1970, SGS created its first assembly back-end plant in Singapore, in the area of Toa Payoh. Then in 1981, SGS decided to build a waferfab in Singapore. The Singapore technical engineers have been trained in Italy and the fab of Ang Mo Kio started to produce its firstwafers in 1984. Converted up to 8 inch (200 mm) fab, this is now an important 8 inch (200 mm) wafer fab of the group. Ang Mo Kio also hosts some design centers. The site currently employs 6000 staff.
Application, design and support. ~300 employees. Divisions: MCD, FTM, HVD.
- Malta: In 1981, SGS-Thomson (now STMicroelectronics) built its first assembly plant in Malta. STMicroelectronics is, as of 2008, the largest private employer on the island, employing around 1,800 people.
- Muar, Malaysia: around 4000 employees. This site was built in 1974 by Thomson and is now an assembly plant.
- Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, near Hong Kong: In 1994, ST and the Shenzhen Electronics Group signed a partnership to construct and jointly operate an assembly plant (ST has majority with 60%). The plant is located in Futian Free Trade Zone and became operational in 1996. It has around 3,300 employees. A new assembly plant is planned in Longgang for 2008. The R&D, design, sales and marketing office is located in the Hi-tech industrial park in Nanshan district.
- Calamba City, in the province of Laguna, Philippines,: In 2008, ST acquired this plant from NXP Semiconductors. Initially as part of joint venture with NXP but later acquired the whole share turning it into a full pledge STMicroelectronics Assembly and Testing plant. Currently it employs 2,000 employees.
- Bristol, UK: approx. 200 employees. This R&D site was built for the British company Inmos which in 1978 began development of the famous Transputer microprocessor. The site was acquired with Inmos in 1994, and is now primarily involved with the design of home video products (Set-Top Box, DVD), GPS and Wireless LAN chips, and accompanying software.
- Rabat, Morocco: A design center that employs 160 people.
- Naples, Italy: A Design center employing 300 people.
- Lecce, Italy: HW & SW Design Center which hosts 20 researchers in the Advanced System Technology group.
- Ang Mo Kio, Singapore: In 1970, SGS created its first assembly back-end plant in Singapore, in the area of Toa Payoh. Then in 1981, SGS decided to build a wafer fab in Singapore. The Singapore technical engineers have been trained in Italy and the fab of Ang Mo Kio started to produce its first wafers in 1984. Converted up to 8 inch (200 mm) fab, this is now an important 8 inch (200 mm) wafer fab of the ST group. Ang Mo Kio also hosts design centers for various groups.
- Greater Noida, India: The Noida site was launched in 1992 to conduct software engineering activities. A silicon design center was inaugurated on 14 February 1995. With 120 employees, it was the largest design center of the company outside Europe at the time. In 2006, the site was shifted to Greater Noida for further expansion. The site hosts mainly design teams. It is now primarily involved with the design of home video products (Set-Top Box, DVD), GPS and Wireless LAN chips, and accompanying software. World wide Data center support is also transfered to Greater Noida in 2004. The employee strength in Greater Noida is around 2000. This also includes employees of ST-Ericsson.
- San Jose, California, (Silicon Valley), USA): 120 staff in marketing, design and applications.
- La Jolla, California, (San Diego, USA): 80 staff in design and applications.
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.: Application, support, and marketing.
- Prague, Czech Republic: 100 to 200 employees. Application, design and support.
- Tunis, Tunisia: 300 employees. Support, Application, TR&D, design and support.
- Sophia Antipolis, near Nice, France: Design center with a few hundred employees.
- Edinburgh, Scotland: Design center.
- Grasbrunn, Germany: Design & Application Center.
- Ottawa, Canada: In 1993, SGS-Thomson purchased the semiconductor activities of Nortel which owned in Ottawa an R&D center and a fab. The fab was closed in 2000, however, a design, R&D centre and sales office is operating in the city.
- Toronto, Canada: HW & SW Design Center primarily involved with the design of video processor ICs as part of ST's TVM Division.
- Palermo, Sicily, Italy: Design Center.
- Bangalore, India: HW and SW design center employing more than 250 people (Including the employees of ST Ericsson and Genesis Microchip).
- Zaventem, Belgium: 100 employees. Design & Application Center.
- Helsinki, Finland: Design Center.
- Turku, Finland: Design Center.
- Oulu, Finland: Design Center.
- Tampere, Finland: Design Center.
- Longmont, Colorado USA: Design Center.
The Phoenix, Arizona 8 inch (200 mm) fab, the Carrollton, Texas 6 inch (150 mm) fab, and the Ain Sebaa, Morocco fab are beginning rampdown plans, and are destined to close by 2010.
The Casablanca, Morocco site consists of two assembly parts (Bouskoura and Aïn Sebaâ) and totals around 4000 employees. It was opened in the 1960s by Thomson. ST is Morocco's biggest exporter.
- Rennes, France hosted a 6 inch (150 mm) fab and was closed in 2004
- Rancho Bernardo, California, a 4 inch (100 mm) fab created by Nortel and purchased by SGS-Thomson in 1994, after which it was converted into a 6 inch (150 mm) fab in 1996.
- SGS's first presence in the US was a sales office based in Phoenix in the early 1980s. Later, under SGS-Thomson, an 8 inch (200 mm) fab was completed in Phoenix in 1995. The company's second 8" fab after Crolles 1, the site was first dedicated to producing microprocessors for Cyrix. On July 10, 2007, ST said that it would close this site, and in July 2010 the shell of the Phoenix PF1 FAB was bought by Western Digital Corporation.
- The Carrollton, Texas site was built in 1969 by Mostek, an American company founded by former employees of Texas Instruments. In 1979 Mostek was acquired by United Technologies which sold it to Thomson Semiconducteurs in 1985. Initially equipped with a 4 inch (100 mm) fab, it was converted into a 6 inch (150 mm) fab in 1988. The Colorado Springs activities of British company INMOS were transferred to Carrolton in 1989 following its acquisition by SGS Thomson. Since then the site has been refocused to wafer testing. On July 10, 2007, ST announced it would close this fab, and it was finally closed in 2010.
- STMicroelectronics and Hynix of South Korea have created a joint-venture to construct a wafer fab for nand flash memories. STMicroelectronics has a 33% stake in ST/Hynix which was intended to be operational by the end of 2006.
- STMicroelectronics is negotiating with Chinese joint venture foundry Hua Hong NEC Electronics Co. Ltd. located in Shanghai to build a 12 inch (300 mm) fab in China. Foundry owners are Hua Hong and NEC of Japan.
- On August 8, 2007 ST bought Nokia's microchip development team and plans to invest heavily in development of cellular ASIC applications. The purchase included Nokia's ASIC team in Southwood (UK) and the company plans several sites in Finland.  
STMicroelectronics is involved in a project to produce plastic solar cells that employ a matrix of carbon nanotubes to convert photons to electrical power.
Notes and References
- Web site: Annual Report 2010. 17 November 2011. STMicroelectronics.
- Nicolas Mokhoff, EDN. "ST Micro opens lab for humanoid robot research." July 27, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
- Web site: Company Information - STMicroelectronics. 2011-05-04. STMicroelectronics. ST operates a worldwide network of front-end (wafer fabrication) and back-end (assembly and test and packaging) plants.
- http://www.st.com/stonline/press/news/year2007/c2542c.htm ST | STMicroelectronics Outlines Next Steps to Improve Cost Structure | C2542C
- http://www.st.com/stonline/press/news/year2007/c2547c.htm ST | Nokia and STMicroelectronics plan deeper ties in 3G technology development | C2547C
- http://www.nokia.com/A4136001?newsid=1144794 Nokia - ShowPressRelease
- http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2007/08/08/41943/nokia-lines-up-chip-transfer-to-st.htm Nokia lines up chip transfer to ST