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" ", 15, 2007 .

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Interview with Walter Sangalli

Maxim Integrated Products .

1.       Our magazine is meant mostly  for the electronic devices designers, company Maxim Integrated Products is well-known in the electronic components producers world like one of the most designer-oriented companies. Be so kind to tell us about the beginnings of the idea o of such a model and about the main ideas of its further developing?

W.S.: Maxim was founded by a group of nine people.  All of them were industry veterans, and five of them were IC designers.  The leader of the group, Jack Gifford, defined the model for success.  His philosophy was to build a large team of IC designers, and to manage them in a way that optimized their efficiency.  He recognized that great IC designers were the most difficult engineers to hire, so he made sure that all their efforts counted.  Further, he believed that designing great products would cause equipment designers to design with Maxim parts, and once a part is designed in, the sales effort is mostly done.

2.       Russian electronic components market is considered to be one of the fast upcoming in Europe. How do you estimate its future trends and perspectives for Maxim Integrated Products in Russia and in Eastern Europe in common?

W.S.: We still see quite a difference between the Eastern European market and the Russian one. While EE is still predominantly a Manufacturing market, although with some new significant and fast growing design centers, Russia looks definitely much wider, both in variety and size, combined with a booming electronics market driven by an aggressive industry that tends to invest the profits of its oil and natural resources boom into technology.

The nature of the Russian electronic market fits very well with Maxim strategy and Company product portfolio. I estimate a fast and tangible growth of Maxim in basically all electronic sectors, especially the industrial and telecommunication ones, where Maxim can offer the whole analog and mixed signal product range, satisfying all design needs with the highest products quality. 

3.       It's turned out in Russia historically, that the strongest position  in the field of analog and mixed signal components takes company Analog Device. Lately we feel the growth of interest to Russian market from the side of Texas Instruments -they've started the site in Russian and opened the representative office with 3 employees in Moscow. From our point of view MAXIM could easily make them a competition in different line cards, but seems not so active still. What are you planning in order to strengthen your presence in Russia?

W.S.: We have a clear strategy on Russia. We already have 2 direct employees, fully dedicated to the Russian market, and the plan is to be ready to add more resources as soon as we will see the need. We don't put any limit on that. At this time, our objective is to drive the local distribution organizations in providing the best in class customer service (including a world class samples service), combined with a highly competent and aggressive technical support that will enable our customers to privilege Maxim among all our Competitors.

4.       Maxim Integrated Products has got a wide experience  to supply  the major producers of electronics.  Specific character of Russia - the great amount of small and middle-size companies, although some developing Russian companies make design  for some large world companies. What could offer MAXIM for small and middle-size enterprises in Russia?

W.S.: Maxim offers a lot of high-integration products that are designed for very specific high-volume applications.  Typically these are used by the largest companies.  But most of Maxim's product portfolio comprises products that are functional blocks that can be configured to do a very wide variety of jobs.  Many industrial applications, for example in test and measurement, make substantial use of our signal processing devices, data converters, interface components, and power supplies.  Interface and power supplies in particular are almost universal in application, and they are used by all companies from the largest to the smallest.

Our engineers always enjoy working with engineers from smaller companies.  At the largest companies the customer has chip sets designed for him, so all he has to do is assemble the parts.  The smaller firms don't have that luxury, so they have to know enough to be able to build their equipment from basic components.  As a result, those engineers become very good at what they do, and they are a joy to work with.

5.       It is the opinion that traditional overview of the Russian designer that MAXIM products are of very high quality, but expensive. What's your comment on it? 

W.S.: We appreciate the opinion that Maxim parts are of high quality.  We worked hard to make that true 25 years ago, and we continue to work hard to make it true today.  Frankly, we find it cheaper to make good parts than poor ones.  If we made bad parts it would impact our sales and cause us other costs.  So we figure it's cheaper to build good quality in, starting with the design of the manufacturing process, and finishing with the shipped units.

Some manufacturers like to copy other people's designs, and try to make money by undercutting the prices of the original manufacturer.  That business philosophy reduces the customer's costs in the short term.  The trouble is, the manufacturers (both the prime source and the second source) don't make much profit, and so there's no money to spend on new product development.  So in the long term the customer gets a bad deal because he's struggling along with products a decade old.  The Maxim model is simply innovation; we don't copy other people's products.  And although innovation costs money, it brings tremendous rewards:  higher performance, and more features.  So in the short term we don't cut our prices, but in the long term the customer gets more, much more, for his money.  And that happens year after year after year.

6.       The founder and the leader of your company for many years Jack Gifford recently has stepped aside from the active leadership, serving now as the consultant of committee of company directors. Undoubtedly he is an outstanding person in business world, the individual with a bright unique personality, who has successfully lead his company through many difficulties. What changes of your policy should be awaited for and to what points would be given the major accent?

W.S.: Jack Gifford made us what we are, and we owe to him our focus and drive.  He took us to where we are today.  The new CEO, Tunc Doluca, has been with Maxim for over 20 years and knows the company very well from many aspects.  When he took over, he was aware of some areas where we could do better, and he has begun to address those.  A good example is in the manufacturing area.  The old CEO was mostly concerned with cost.  The new CEO is concerned both with cost and manufacturing cycle time.   This new emphasis on manufacturing time reduces delivery times, and makes us easier to buy products from.  And if you, our customer, suddenly find your demand rising, we can react more quickly to keep you in business.  This is a very simple change for us internally, but it makes a big difference in customer satisfaction.  Another example is in our infrastructure.  Jack was very frugal when it came to investing in internal systems for information and control, but Tunc is paying more attention to this.  In the short-term customers won't see any difference, but over the long haul we expect to see improvements in customer service and in delivery times.

7.       What events have affected the MAXIM's logo change? What will happen to DALLAS line card, would it be left in MAXIM line card or not (in particular should some changes concern iButtons and the microcontrollers on the 51st core)?

W.S.: The change in logo was long overdue, and it's a mystery why we didn't do it 3 or 4 years ago!  There was NO change in our product portfolio associated with the change in name.  We made the change now because we recently had a few customers comment that they didn't know that Maxim and Dallas Semiconductor were the same company.  Our business cards sometimes had one logo or the other, and sometimes both.  We finally got around to fixing what should have been done a long time ago.

8.       What wishes or advices would you like to address to our readers - the consumers of MAXIM products?

W.S.: As we approach Maxim's 25th anniversary, we are tempted to look back at what we have done in terms of building a large and varied product line, and an impressive list of customers all over the world.  But in fact what we are doing is committing ourselves to maintaining our emphasis on quality and product innovation, and to making dramatic improvements to the way in which we service our customers. 

MAXIM       RS-485







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