Xilinx is programmed to give you control. The company is a top supplier of field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs). Customers program these integrated circuits (ICs) to perform specific functions, providing greater design flexibility and cutting time to market. Xilinx also offers a broad range of design software and intellectual property used to customize its chips. The fabless company -- it contracts with third-party manufacturers to produce its chips -- sells to the automotive, aerospace, broadcast, consumer, data processing, and wired and wireless communications markets. Customers outside the US account for nearly three-quarters of sales.
Xilinx has headquarters in Ireland, Singapore, and the US; its engineering design facilities are located in Canada, China, India, Ireland, Scotland, and the US. The company also has sales offices worldwide. In addition to direct sales, the company makes about 48% of sales through global mega-distributor Avnet.
Overall revenues for Xilinx fell 5% to $2.2 billion in fiscal 2012; strong sales in new products were offset by declines in its other product lines. Revenues for its new product segment were up 14% for the year (after rising 76% in fiscal 2011) primarily due to strong market acceptance of next-generation technologies. The company expects that sales of these products will continue to grow as they enter volume production and begin to ramp up sales. Xilinx recorded double-digit decreases in sales of mainstream, base, and support products. The company's net income was down 17% to $530 million for the year, on the lower sales and higher R&D, amortization, interest, and litigation expenses.
Xilinx outsources manufacturing to United Microelectronics, Toshiba, and Samsung Electronics, among others. In 2010 it signed up Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the top silicon foundry (contract semiconductor manufacturer) in the world, to make its devices with 28-nanometer features, the leading edge in chip design. Like other fabless semiconductor companies, Xilinx plows money into R&D, since it is free of capital expenditures for wafer fabrication. It also forms development alliances with other chip makers, chip equipment manufacturers, and suppliers of design software and services.
Xilinx's strategy is focused on replacing competing application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard products (ASPPs) with its own programmable platforms that the company touts as being better able to fulfill the need for low-cost, low-power, and high-performance chips. Other parts of the company's strategy include making acquisitions that will accelerate company growth in specific market sectors and provide application-specific intellectual property (IP) to meet demand from targeted markets.
In 2012 Xilinx acquired two privately held companies that expanded its IP offerings for wired communications providers. The company bought Modelware, a developer of packet process technology used in communications equipment, and Sarance Technologies, a provider of Ethernet and Interlaken IP for logic chips. It also acquired embedded Linux software developer PetaLogix. Later that year, Xilinx bought Modesat Communications, expanding its reach in wireless infrastructure and backhaul with IP cores for backhaul modems used in microwave, E-band, and NLOS (non-line of sight) markets. Modesat became part of Xilinx's communications business unit, and will continue to operate from its offices in Estonia and San Diego.
Xilinx acquired high level synthesis software developer AutoESL Design Technologies late in 2011. The company's interest is in AutoESL's flagship AutoPilot application, designed to increase productivity and improve the product development process for manufacturers of the programmable gate arrays used in video, wireless, and other computing applications. Earlier that year, Xilinx bought optical transport network IP developer Omiino Ltd., supporting its effort to provide additional IP for large wired communications customers. – less