NXP Semiconductors provides high-performance mixed signal and standard product solutions based on its RF, analog, power management, interface, security and digital processing expertise. More informally, NXP has characterized its strategy as focusing on "products with no big chip in the middle." These semiconductors are used in a wide range of "smart" automotive, identification, wireless infrastructure, lighting, industrial, mobile, consumer and computing applications. Headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the company has approximately 24,000 employees working in more than 25 countries—including 3,300 employees in Research & Development—and reported sales of $4.358 billion in 2012. NXP's shipment-based revenue in Greater China is twice as big compared to Europe, and 8,000 of the company's employees are based in China.
NXP is the co-inventor of near field communication (NFC) technology along with Sony and supplies NFC chip sets which enable mobile phones to be used to pay for goods, and store and exchange data securely. NXP ranks number one in chips for eGovernment applications such as electronic passports; number one in transport and access management, with the chip set and contactless card for MIFARE used by many major public transit systems worldwide; and is number one in RFID tags and labels.
In addition, NXP is the global market leader in many other areas, including automotive chips for in-vehicle networking, passive keyless entry and immobilization, and car radios, as well as silicon tuners for the TV and set-top-box market. As of February 2011, NXP had shipped over one billion ARM processor-based chips, and with its LPC microcontrollers, NXP is the only provider of microcontrollers with a roadmap based exclusively on 32-bit ARM architecture. NXP invented the I²C interface over 30 years ago and is the number one supplier of I²C solutions in the world. NXP is also the number one volume supplier of standard logic devices, and celebrated its 50 years in logic (via its history as both Signetics and Philips Semiconductors) in March 2012.
According to CEO Rick Clemmer, key growth areas for NXP include energy-efficient GreenChip technology, wirelessly controlled smart lighting, authentication technology, and solutions for the Smart Home or home automation market. NXP is also involved in sensors for various applications such as automotive, white goods and home appliances, industrial automation, and building automation. NXP currently owns approximately 11,000 issued or pending patents.
Philips Research Laboratories was involved in semiconductor research since the late 1940s, and succeeded in developing its first point contact transistor in 1949. On June 25, 1953, the Philips Board of Management decided to start a semiconductor operation, with manufacturing and development taking place in Nijmegen, Netherlands. From the 1950s until 1990, most of Philips' semiconductor activities were conducted in a product division called Electronic Materials and Components - Elcoma.
Silicon Valley-based Signetics, the "first company in the world established expressly to make and sell integrated circuits" and inventor of the 555 timer IC, was acquired by Philips in 1975. At the time, it was claimed that "with the Signetics acquisition, Philips was now number two in the league table of semiconductor manufacturers in the world." In 1987, Philips-Signetics, a unit of Philips, was ranked Europe's largest semiconductor maker, with sales of $1.36 billion in 1986.
Philips acquired VLSI Technology in June 1999. At the time, the acquisition made Philips the world's sixth largest semiconductor company.
In December 2005, Philips announced its intention to legally separate its semiconductor division, Philips Semiconductors, into an independent legal entity.
The new company name NXP was announced on August 31, 2006, and was officially launched during the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) consumer electronics show in Berlin. The newly independent NXP was ranked as one of the world's top 10 semiconductor companies. At the time, CEO Frans van Houten emphasized the importance of NXP in enabling "vibrant media" technologies in mobile phones, digital TVs, portable music players and other consumer electronics devices.
NXP's first acquisition as an independent company was in 2007, when NXP announced that it would acquire Silicon Laboratories’ AeroFONE single-chip phone and power amplifier product lines to strengthen its Mobile and Personal business. Fourteen months later, NXP announced that it would transform its Mobile and Personal business unit into a joint venture with STMicroelectronics, which in 2009 became ST-Ericsson, a 50/50 joint venture of Ericsson Mobile Platforms and STMicroelectronics, after ST purchased NXP's 20% stake.
Similarly, in April 2008, NXP announced it would acquire the set-top box business of Conexant to complement its existing Home business unit. In October 2009, NXP announced that it would sell its Home business unit to Trident Microsystems.
In September 2008, NXP announced that it would restructure its manufacturing, R&D and back office operations, resulting in 4,500 job cuts worldwide, for annual savings of $550 million.
Focus on high-performance mixed signal and standard products
Current president and CEO Rick Clemmer took over from Frans van Houten on January 1, 2009. Clemmer has emphasized the importance of "high performance mixed signal" products as a key focus area for NXP. As of 2011, "standard products" including components such as small signal, power and integrated discretes accounted for 30 percent of NXP's business.
On July 26, 2010, NXP announced that it had acquired Jennic based in Sheffield, UK, which now operates as part of its Smart Home and Energy product line, offering wireless connectivity solutions based on ZigBee and JenNet-IP.
On August 6, 2010, NXP announced its IPO at NASDAQ, with 34,000,000 shares, pricing each $14.
In December 2010, NXP announced that it would sell its Sound Solutions business to Knowles Electronics, part of Dover Corporation, for $855 million in cash. The acquisition was completed as of July 5, 2011.
In April 2012, NXP announced its intent to acquire electronic design consultancy Catena to work on automotive applications, to capitalize on growing demand for engine emissions reduction and car-to-infrastructure, car-to-car, and car-to-driver communication.