Microchip Technology (NASDAQ: MCHP) makes analog microcontrollers, memory, and other electronic components for embedded systems, which are small, low-power computers designed to perform specific tasks. The company primarily competes in the microcontroller market.
In FY2010, MCHP generated a net income of $217 million on revenues of $947.7 million. This represents an 11.6% decrease in net income and a 4.9% increase in total sales from FY2009, when the company earned $245.6 million on $903. million in total revenues.
MCHP operates through one reportable segment that engages in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of semiconductors.
Microcontrollers are essentially computers condensed to a single chip, containing a processor, memory, and a input/output interface. MCHP produces microcontrollers under its PIC brand name. PIC microcontrollers are designed for high performance, low power and cost effectiveness. MCHP microcontrollers use a dual-bus architecture, which has separate pathways for data and instruction, making them faster than the majority of other microcontroller products on the market that tend to use single-bus architectures. MCHP manufactures products in the 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit microcontroller markets and has the largest market share in the 8-bit market. The 8-bit microcontroller is the smallest and most popular of the three, as an estimated 55% of all computers use 8-bit microcontrollers. The 16-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers are more computationally powerful and physically bigger.
MCHP also makes the Development Tools that system designers use to program PIC microcontrollers. These tools are hardware products that let these designers program MCHP's microcontrollers and other electronics products.
Memory products consist of Serial EEPROMs (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory), which are useful in embedded devices because they do not require power to keep data stored. MCHP is the largest manufacturer of EEPROMs.
Analog and Interface Products consist of MCHP's power management, linear, mixed-signal, thermal management and interface products, which number over 500. Its line of mixed-signal products primarily includes data converters that convert data from analog to digital or vice versa. Linear products refer to Microchip's products that transfer either analog or digital data, without any conversions.
Products in the semiconductor industry tend to have short shelf lives, with their selling prices decreasing rapidly over the course of their existence. In the case of Microchip, the average selling prices of its microcontroller and analog and interface products remained relatively constant, but average selling prices of its memory products and non-proprietary analog and interface products have decreased.
Because MCHP reports its revenues in U.S. dollars but most of its business is international, it is affected by exchange rates. When the value of the dollar depreciates, MCHP's international sales grow in dollar terms. From 2006-2008, the dollar depreciated relative to the Euro and Japanese Yen.