“One of the reasons ADI did the acquisition of Linear was the portfolio of power management,” said Steyerl. “Other acquisitions such as Hittite have completed the RF side up to 100GHz, but one of the gaps we had was power management. There was never the goal of generating synergy effects on the cost side but growing the business and providing a complete portfolio. We have really finalised the integration at this stage and its quite a success story, bringing two relatively large companies together with $6bn in revenue and 15,000 employees.”
“Two years after ‘day one’ to have finalised the integration at all levels is a success story. Now you can’t see who was on the ADI side and the LTC side. In the integration strategy, we did not assume it was always the ADI way, but the best of both.”
From a sales perspective, ADI has been quite successful with larger accounts in comms, industrial and automotive but not as deeply engaged with the wider customer base as Linear, says Steyerl. “So we have combined the sales teams on a global level, and we still have the channel partners such as Arrow that we work closely with.”
The product roadmap has been finalised as well. Linear’s battery management technology has been integrated into the automotive business unit, which also includes the mesh network technology that Linear acquired with Dust Networks. The rest of the power business is a separate business unit now and that group directly reports to the CEO.
“Dust is a technology and we take the technology and link it to the business unit where we see not the highest priority but the best place to drive innovation and implementation into products. We have seen that with the Dust network with automotive as a driving market but ADI uses the technology across other units,” he said. “There are product development plans for the Dust network outside of automotive as well.”
However there are still gaps in the strategy, particularly around electric vehicles and e-mobility. Part of this is being addressed by ADI’s investment in UnitedSiC, which develops silicon carbide ‘MOSFETs’ that can be dropped into existing designs to replace existing silicon devices.
“We haven’t outlined out complete strategy for e-mobility for the overall system, but there’s a clear focus from LTC which is linked to the battery management technology,” said Steyerl.
ADI is also seeing a slowdown in both the industrial and automotive markets that Linear was addressing.
“The industrial market is very strong and that’s still growing, maybe not at the same level as last year. We have definitely seen a slow down in automotive, from VW’s touubles, Brexit and tariffs. The EV strategy is a matter of timing – compared to some other car makers in California and China, Europe has been relatively slow in getting EVs into the market but now every manufacturer will introduce an EV and that drives the business,” he said. “From an investment and engagement perspective the car makers and Tier Ones there’s a lot happening at this point.”
Communications is one of the growth drivers in Europe today with LTE today and in the future 5G will drive this. Linear had been less engaged with large accounts in communications, so Steyerl sees significant growth potential for the power management portfolio.
“5G is a very important element of our strategy, it’s an absolute necessity for autonomous L4 and L5 driverless cars,” he said.