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Microsemi Corporation
Industry Semiconductor
Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuits
Discrete Semiconductors
RF Components
Founded 1960
Headquarters Flag of the United States.svg Aliso Viejo, California, USA
Key people
Dennis R. Leibel, Chairman
James J. Peterson, President, CEO, Director
Revenue Decrease $835.9 million USD (2011)[1]
Increase $212.0 million USD (2011)
Increase $157.1 million USD (2011)
Number of employees
3,000 (2011)
Website www.microsemi.com

Microsemi Corporation is a manufacturer of defense, security, aerospace, enterprise, communications, medical, alternative energy, and industrial products for power-related applications. Major products offered by Microsemi are analog devices, mixed-signal and RF integrated circuits, customizable system-on-chips (cSoC), FPGAs, and complete subsystems. It has been based in Aliso Viejo, California since 2011, when it relocated its headquarters from Irvine, California.[2] Microsemi has plants in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Ireland, China and Canada.[3]


  • In October 2008, Microsemi acquired Electro Module, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Babcock, Inc.[4]
  • In April 2009 Microsemi acquired the defense and security business of Endwave Corp., and the Space Level Power Products business of Spectrum Microwave, Inc.[4]
  • In June 2009 Microsemi acquired Nexsem, Inc.
  • In April 2010 Microsemi acquired White Electronic Designs Corp.[4]
  • In September 2010 Microsemi acquired VT Silicon and Arxan Defense Systems, Inc.[4]
  • In May 2011 Microsemi acquired AML Communications, Inc. [1]
  • In November 2010 Microsemi acquired Actel Corp.[5]
  • In June 2011 Microsemi acquired Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc. [2]
  • In July 2011 Microsemi acquired ASIC Advantage, Inc. [3]
  • In October 2011 Microsemi acquired Zarlink Semiconductor, Inc. [4]
  • In January 2012 Microsemi acquired the timing, synchronization, and synthesis business of Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. [5]
  • In October 2013 Microsemi acquired Symmetricom, Inc. [6]


Traded as NASDAQ: SYMM
Industry Electronic Products
Headquarters San Jose, California, USA
Key people

Elizabeth A. Fetter
(President & CEO)

Jim Chiddix
(Chairman of the Board)
Revenue $208.1 Million (FY 2011)
$4.3 Million (FY 2011)
$24.3 Million (FY 2011)
Total assets $235.8 Million (FY 2011)
Total equity $184.2 Million (FY 2011)
Number of employees
584 (June 2011)
Website http://www.symmetricom.com

Symmetricom, Inc. (NASDAQ: SYMM) (now acquired by Microsemi) develops, manufactures, and supplies timekeeping technology to customers in industry and government worldwide that require extremely precise synchronization. Symmetricom products support today’s precise timing standards, including GPS-based timing, IEEE 1588 (PTP), Network Time Protocol (NTP), Synchronous Ethernet and Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications (DOCSIS®) timing.

Products include hydrogen masers, rubidium and cesium atomic standards, temperature and oven controlled crystal oscillators, miniature and chip scale atomic clocks, network time servers, network sync management systems, cable timekeeping solutions, telecom synchronization supply units (SSUs), and timing test sets.

Symmetricom is one of the only two world’s commercial supplier of cesium atomic standards (atomic clocks) - the other one is Oscilloquartz, in Switzerland. By weighted average, Symmetricom atomic clocks contribute over 90% of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, the world time standard). The BIPM (International Bureau of Weights and Measures) calculates UTC by averaging the combined contributions of the national laboratories of its member countries.

Symmetricom is headquartered in San Jose, California with research and development centers in Boulder, Colorado; Beverly, Massachusetts; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and Beijing, China.


Zarlink Semiconductor Inc. (in last years as an independent company)
Industry Semiconductor - Integrated Circuits
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Kirk Mandy, Gary Tanner, Andre Levasseur, Renato Pontello, Steve Swift
Number of employees
Parent Microsemi Corporation
Website www.zarlink.com

Zarlink Semiconductor (now acquired by Microsemi) was a fabless semiconductor company specializing in the design and manufacture of communication and medical semiconductor integrated circuits, modules, and other devices. In 2011, Microsemi acquired Zarlink in a hostile takeover and merged it into its own operations. Zarlink's existence as an independent entity ended then.[citation needed]

In its last years as an independent entity, the company's core capabilities were in network timing, voice enhancement and ultra low-power wireless communication. Its head offices were located in Ottawa, Canada. Zarlink sold products to 3,000 customers in more than 100 countries. In 2011, it had approximately 500 employees world-wide, including in development centres in Canada and the U.S., and specialized fabrication facilities in Wales. Essentially all of its manufacturing was done off-shore through subcontracting partners.

Zarlink was part of Mitel Corporation which was founded by Terry Matthews and Michael Cowpland in 1973. In 1998 Mitel acquired GEC-Plessey Semiconductor in the UK from the General Electric Company plc for US $225 million in cash, through which it gained wireless technology and communications ASIC and systems integration expertise, including RF (Radio Frequency) technology. The combined semiconductor businesses at the time ranked Mitel among the top ten networking companies in the world.

By 2000 the semiconductor and PBX divisions had combined annual revenues of USD $1.4 billion. However the semiconductor business was experiencing significant growth while the PBX division grew more slowly in the face of competition from Cisco, Avaya and other significant players.[which?]

With Kirk Mandy as CEO and President, Mitel in 2001 sold its PBX division back to Terry Matthews along with the Mitel name for CDN $300 million. The PBX division had growth of 5-6% annually while the semiconductor division had been growing at 45-47%. Soon after, Mandy retired and was replaced by a management team drawn mainly from National Semiconductor.

The semiconductor division was renamed Zarlink to reflect its interest in networking. It derives either from the Latin word "Caesar" or Russian word "Tsar" meaning "one having great power or authority" and the word "link" which means "to connect or be connected". With the sale Zarlink became a pure play semiconductor company focused on specialized markets. Over time it became virtually fabless by selling essentially all of its fabrication plants and other manufacturing facilities to third parties and outsourcing the bulk of its production.

In 2002 Zarlink sold its foundry in Bromont, Quebec, Canada to Dalsa Corporation, and its wafer fabrication facility in Plymouth, UK to X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries AG.

With worsening economic conditions globally Zarlink implemented several workforce reductions while trying to widely diversify the company's product portfolio. This strategy proved to be unsuccessful. Mandy returned to head up the company in 2003. In the following years there were several additional workforce reductions and non-core assets were sold off.

In 2005 it announced the sale of its RF Front-End consumer business to Intel[7] and in 2006 the sale of its Packet Switching product group to Conexant Systems.

In February 2008 it sold an unprofitable analog foundry in the United Kingdom.[8]

In May 2010 it sold its Optical Products Group in Sweden and Phoenix and set its focus on its timing, synchronization, medical and line circuit businesses.

In September 2010 it sold a campus located in Järfälla, Sweden for US$16M to a company affiliated with the Stendorren group in Stockholm.

In 1982 the company developed the industry's first T1/E1 framer chip.

In 1996 it introduced the industry's first echo cancellation chip.

In 2002 it unveiled the industry's first high-density CESoP (Circuit Emulation Services-over-Packet) packet processor to allow service providers to carry TDM traffic over IP networks.

In 2003 it significantly expanded its timing portfolio to offer a comprehensive range of digital, analog and module synchronization products.

In 2004 Given Imaging selected Zarlink's ultra low-power RF transmitter chip for use in the world's first swallowable camera capsule. Zarlink's RF chip transmits two movie-quality images per second from the capsule, allowing a more thorough and non-invasive examination of the gastrointestinal tract. In 2009 the company announced that it had shipped over one million RF chips for use in Given Imaging's PillCam SB video capsules.

In 2005 Zarlink launched the industry's first ultra low-power transceiver chip for wireless communication systems designed exclusively to operate in the Medical Implantable Communication Service (MICS) band, used to link implanted medical devices and base stations. In 2008 the chip won an EE Times Product of the Year award. In the same year the company announced that it had already shipped over 30,000 modules incorporating the chip to St. Jude Medical for use in implanted defibrillators. The chip and module is being designed into a variety of medical implantable devices and external instruments such as pacemakers, defibrillators, and devices used to treat dystonia, acute pain, parkinsons, epilepsy, and other advanced monitoring, diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Zarlink announced a Zarlink-led Self-Energizing Implantable Medical Microsystem (SIMM) project which successfully designed and tested an in-body microgenerator that will harvest energy from the heartbeat to power implanted medical devices. In 2009 the project was named winner of the Emerging Technology Award at the Institution of Engineering and Technology's (IET) Innovation Awards in London, England.

In June 2007 Zarlink acquired Legerity, a privately held former division of AMD, headquartered in Austin, Texas for US$134.5 million in cash. Legerity was a leading supplier of analog voice technologies for carrier, enterprise and residential gateway equipment.

In 2008 Zarlink successfully defended itself against a dissident shareholder battle led by a 5 percent stakeholder accusing Zarlink of overspending on R&D.

Following the Legerity acquisition Zarlink significantly reduced its manufacturing costs, made changes to its management team (including the appointment of Garry Tanner to CEO, formerly COO at Legerity), launched three new technology platforms (one for each of its businesses) and aggressively drove the company's finances forward. Fiscal 2011 operating income reached $39 million up from $19 million the previous year and net income reached $69 million, up from $7 million in 2011. In 2011 revenues from its timing and synchronization business grew by 38% while its voice telephony business grew by 34%. The company’s share price rose tenfold compared to March 2009, and it roughly doubled its cash and cash equivalents to $124 million at the end of the first quarter, from $62 million a year earlier. Its revenues reached $220 million in fiscal 2011 and profits grew eightfold.

Zarlink's turnaround attracted several unsolicited offers by Microsemi, an $800 million company. After being rebuffed Microsemi was forced to improve its valuation of the company. In reaction to the increased offers Zarlink's Board launched a strategic alternatives review process. In October, 2011 Microsemi agreed to acquire Zarlink for $3.98 a share, a nearly 70% premium over its trading price, for a total consideration of over USD $630 million.

Mars Rover[edit]

Microsemi has provided semiconductor solutions for numerous U.S. space programs dating back to the launch of the first Atlas rocket more than 50 years ago. Several of Microsemi’s space products were used in the historic landing of the Mars Curiosity rover in 2012. The company's products were used for mission critical applications during the launch and flight to Mars, and continue to support the mission on the surface of Mars. These applications include: launch systems, avionics, telemetry, navigation, drive control, mission computers, cameras and other instruments.[9]

Irish operations[edit]

In August 2012 Microsemi marked its 20 years of operations in Ireland by naming Ennis its European headquarters. According to company officials, the announcement represented an endorsement of the work of the Ennis facility and its contribution to the wider Microsemi global network. In conjunction with naming Ennis its European headquarters, the company announced the inaugural Microsemi Scholarship in Engineering at the University of Limerick. In addition, the company funded a high-profile science and aerospace engineering programme in St. Flannan’s school in Ennis.[10]

Microsemi works closely with the Industrial Development Authority (IDA Ireland), which is responsible for attracting and developing overseas investment in Ireland. Support from IDA Ireland was a key factor in the company’s decision to invest in the region.[11]

Microsemi established its presence in Ireland in 1992 through the acquisition of a facility in Ennis Co. Clare. Microsemi made significant investments in its Ennis operations and is now one of the largest employers in the area. The Ennis facility's key competencies are the development, manufacturing and high reliability testing of semiconductors to meet stringent aerospace, satellite, medical and security standards and it is now one of the largest such facilities globally. Microsemi also has a design group in Dublin which is focused on advanced system-on-chip (SoC) software and solutions with an emphasis on ARM processor-centric designs.[11]


James Peterson education claims[edit]

In 2009 Barry Minkow, co-founder of the Fraud Discovery Institute, published a report claiming that James Peterson, Microsemi's President and CEO, had not obtained a Bachelor's degree or Masters of Business Administration as he had listed on his biography on STEC Inc.’s regulatory filings (as part of his board position with that company) and on a US government security clearance application. Peterson responded with a public statement saying he "categorically" denied the reports. The next day, the registrar of Brigham Young University advised that they had double-checked and had no records of Peterson ever having obtained any degrees. An independent inquiry was made on behalf of the board by the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, which confirmed that in fact Peterson had not earned either degree. As a penalty for misrepresenting his academic credentials, Peterson paid Microsemi a fine and forwent his 2008 bonus.[12]

ASIC backdoor claims[edit]

It has been reported that Actel's ProASIC3 A3P250 FPGAs, which are made by Microsemi and marketed for and widely used in aerospace and defense systems, have an embedded backdoor that cannot be disabled.[13][14] Microsemi has denied this.[15]


  1. ^ "Microsemi Corporation". Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  2. ^ "Microsemi Corporation Relocates Headquarters to Aliso Viejo, Calif." (Press release). Globe Newswire. August 11, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  3. ^ http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/MSCC/1292561629x0x532553/E720D7EF-90B7-4143-928E-56ECB55A994E/Microsemi_AR_12-14-11_SECURED.pdf
  4. ^ a b c d "Profile:Microsemi Corporation (MSCC.0)" (Reuters profile) - Retrieved 2010-07-11
  5. ^ "Microsemi Corporation has Acquired Actel Corporation" (Actel website front page) - Retrieved 2010-07-11
  6. ^ Company Profile for Zarlink Semiconductor Inc (CA;ZL) Retrieved on 2008-10-17.
  7. ^ "Intel Announces Agreement To Acquire Digital Broadcast Technology Assets, Expertise From Zarlink Semiconductor". October 7, 2005. 
  8. ^ "Zarlink sells money-losing foundry for 1 euro". Reuters. February 29, 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  9. ^ http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/Microsemi_Space_Solutions_On_Board_Historic_Mars_Rover_Mission_999.html
  10. ^ http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0808/1224321715211.html
  11. ^ a b http://www.idaireland.com/news-media/press-releases/microsemi-marks-20-years-/index.xml
  12. ^ "Microsemi CEO Didn't Get Degrees, School Confirms (Update2)". Bloomberg. December 4, 2008. 
  13. ^ Dudley, Richard. "Chinese-Built Microprocessor Includes Programmable Backdoor." Defense Update, June 3, 2012.
  14. ^ Sharwood, Simon (May 29, 2012). "Researchers find backdoor in milspec silicon". The Register. Retrieved September 30, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Microsemi Response: Security Claims With Respect to ProASIC®3."

External links[edit]