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In brief: Motorola, wafer markets, GCS, Fox Group

Motorola slashes its payroll to cut costs; the price of germanium is set to go up; foundry company Global Communication Semiconductors allies with a chip and module designer; and The Fox Group signs a new LED distribution deal covering the UK and Ireland.

Motorola cuts deeper
Cell-phone handset giant Motorola is making a further 4000 job cuts in a bid to hit its financial performance targets.

The US company s cuts come on top of the 3500 it had already announced in response to poor financial results earlier in the year, largely the result of a seriously underperforming handset business (see related stories).

Motorola did not specify how many of the latest cuts would be in its cell-phone business, saying only that "this action is under way and impacts all regions, businesses and functions".

The latest move is expected to cost the company $300 million initially but, in combination with the prior action, it should save Motorola some $1 billion annually.

Wafers in demand
Germanium wafers, increasingly in demand for photovoltaics applications, are set to become even more expensive.

That s one of the conclusions of Frost and Sullivan s latest analysis of the global market for semiconductor wafers.

The report says that the price of germanium, which is usually produced in a 4-inch diameter wafer form, was $570-$590 per kilogram in 2006, and is set to rise to $620-$650 per kilogram by 2010.

Meanwhile, silicon wafers, which currently command an annual market value close to $9 billion, have become much more expensive recently due to a shortage of bulk material and ramping demand for use in solar cells.

Raw silicon has increased from $20 per kilogram to $250 per kilogram over the past couple of years, the report finds.

GCS allies with design outfit
Compound semiconductor foundry operation Global Communication Semiconductors (GCS) has entered into a strategic alliance with RFIC Solutions, a provider of design services for electronic components and systems.

The alliance will combine GCS expertise in HBT, PHEMT and other transistor manufacture with RFIC Solutions intellectual property and module designs.

The two Californian companies say that the move will provide a "one-stop" service to customers who want to manufacture advanced modules for RFIC applications such as WiMAX and cable TV.

Fox in new distribution deal
Canadian LED maker The Fox Group has signed up AP Technologies to distribute its ultraviolet emitters in the UK and Ireland.

Produced using a proprietary approach to hydride VPE, the GaN-based 350-365 nm LEDs can be used in a wide array of new applications, including water decontamination, forensic science and machine vision.

"We are confident that AP Technologies will be highly effective in finding and serving the numerous innovative early adopters of UV LEDs in the UK and Ireland, where there exist strong traditions of pioneering in optics and optoelectronics," said Barney O Meara, President and CEO of Fox Group.

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