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STAMFORD, CT – According to a recent global Gartner survey of 1,000 CIOs in February and March, Asia-Pacific CIOs expect their budgets to increase 5.98% in 2008, while European CIOs expect a 3.85% increase.
 
U.S. CIOs, however, only expect their budgets to increase 2.3%.
 
The average expected increase for all CIOs is 3.3%.
 
“The reason we believe IT budget growth will remain stable globally at 3.3% is because Europe and Asia-Pacific are experiencing accelerated and additional growth,” Gartner analyst Mark McDonald said. “The current economic conditions when viewed from outside the US are seen as a US-only phenomenon.”
EL SEGUNDO, CA – Despite the rapid expansion of the global flat-panel display business, the market for display driver ICs used in these screens is expected to undergo a deceleration in revenue growth during the coming years, according to iSuppli Corp.
 
Unit shipment growth for display drivers will slow to 15.1% in 2008, down from 26.2% in 2007. Annual growth will average about 11% from 2009 to 2011.
 
Thanks to the explosion of LCD and plasma television sales, the display-driver IC market has grown rapidly during the past several years, as more consumers and businesses have sought to replace their old CRT-based displays with newer flat-panel sets, says iSuppli.
 
However, while the panels continue making steady progress in expanding the overall size of the display market and increasing their market share, the display driver IC market story is one of rapid change in the face of pricing pressures and advances in panel technology, according to the research firm.
 
iSuppli estimates the global display driver market grew by 26.2% to reach 6.9 billion units in 2007, up from 5.5 billion units in 2006. Such growth was chiefly the result of two market areas: LCD-TV and notebook PC displays, both of which grew their end application units dramatically in the past year. Another major factor was the transition away from passive STN-type LCD displays and to active matrix TFT-LCD displays in many mobile and handheld products, such as mobile handsets and GPS navigation units. Such displays require larger numbers of display drivers, says iSuppli.
 
But while overall unit growth was strong, global revenue was up only 10.2% to reach $8.8 billion in 2007, up from $7.99 billion in 2006. Revenue growth was limited by the continued downward ASPs for the driver ICs, caused by fierce competition among display driver companies and by decreasing panel prices, factors that exerted pricing pressure on all suppliers to the panel manufacturers.
 
“A troublesome development for the display driver IC market is the fact that the panel pricing pressure – and thus driver IC pricing pressure – is not expected to abate anytime soon, as even more capacity comes on line during the next few years,” said Randy Lawson, senior analyst for digital TV and display electronics for iSuppli.
 
“Even more troublesome is the fact that many large-panel applications, which represent the largest overall volume market for display drivers, are moving rapidly to adopt multichannel drivers, and in some cases are integrating drivers into the panels themselves.
 
“This use of multichannel devices reduces the number of discrete drivers required per panel, putting a serious crimp on the growth prospects for large panel drivers. Coupling the declining driver IC ASP with the increasing usage of multichannel drivers in televisions, notebooks and monitors, one can see that the overall growth rate for display driver ICs is slowing dramatically.”
 
But, new applications and products are continuing to add growth in end markets, with devices like DPFs, multi-touch panels and 3D displays, all of which should help continue to expand the display market, iSuppli believes.
 
Advancements in OLED displays eventually should pave the way for larger – and thus higher volumes of – OLED-TV displays, which could dramatically expand the market for OLED drivers, says iSuppi. Meanwhile, display drivers are advancing to new types of interfaces being promoted by IC and panel manufacturers.
TEMPE, AZ – Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in May for the fourth consecutive month, as the PMI was 49.6%, up only one percentage point from April, says the Institute for Supply Management.

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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJCookson Electronics is launching its Zero halogen initiative for its Alpha branded products to assist in the selection of materials that have either zero halogen content or trace levels based on published standards. 
 
The byproducts of the incomplete combustion of circuit boards and electronic products that contain halogens can include dioxin and furan-like compounds and acidic or corrosive gasses, says Cookson.
 
“Halogenated compounds can be found in printed circuit boards, solder masks, mold compounds, connectors and other products often found in electronic products,” said Bruce Moloznik, VP global marketing, Cookson Electronics. “Given the rising concern regarding the potential human health and environmental dangers posed by halogens, we have initiated an ongoing process to certify Alpha products that have zero halogen content and those considered halogen-free according to published IPC, IEC and JPCA standards.”
SAN JOSE, CA – Spending on worldwide fabs equipping is expected to show declines of about 17% in 2008, as more companies are forced to postpone fab projects because of global economic uncertainties, says SEMI.
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EL SEGUNDO, CAiSuppli Corp. has trimmed its long-term growth forecast for global electronics contract manufacturing revenue to 8% during the 2006 to 2013 timeframe, down from its previous outlook of a 9.3% expansion.

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EDINA, MN – The SMTA seeks abstracts for the Pan Pacific 2009 Symposium.
 
The program committee seeks participants to present recent research results on any of the following topics: business; packaging; interconnection; markets; assembly; microsystems and nanosystems technology, and solar electronics.
 
Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted by July 31, with title and author contact information.
 
For online submissions, visit smta.org/panpac/call_for_papers.cfm or submit abstracts to JoAnn Stromberg at joann@smta.org.
GENEVA – The US and Japan have filed complaints with the World Trade Organization over tariffs the European Union imposes on certain electronics devices.
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MIDLAND, MI Dow Epoxy plans to raise prices in North America and other world regions as necessary, in response to the current climate of rising costs and shrinking margins.
 
“Profit margins have substantially eroded in the face of step-change hydrocarbon and energy and other manufacturing costs, and the situation shows no signs of improvement,” said Patrick Ho, business group president, Dow Epoxy & Specialty Chemicals. “We have absorbed our share of the increased costs, but we have no more room and must act immediately and definitively to ensure our business is healthy over the long-term.”
 
The business is currently meeting with customers to discuss market issues and upward price movement primarily driven by rising costs. Dow incurred new hydrocarbon and energy costs of greater than $2 billion in the first quarter of 2008, and an additional $665 million so far in the second, the company said.
FAIRFIELD, CT LG Electronics and Haier Group have been cited as potential buyers of General Electric’s appliances unit, according to GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt, say published reports. However, the firms aren’t speaking on the record. Read more ...
SEATTLE – The global semiconductor market is expected to grow 4.7% to $267.7 billion in 2008, up from 3.2% in 2007, according to the revised forecast of the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics
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ANAHEIM, CA – The military and defense work that has buoyed the North American PCB industry the past five years won’t last forever. But companies that focus on developing sectors – including energy – can take advantage of the inevitable landscape changes.

That was the consensus of an expert panel last week at the SMTA Los Angeles/Orange County chapter during its monthly meeting. The discussion, A Winning Strategy for Today’s Global Electronics Assembly Industry, focused mainly on the economy, Lean and lead-free.
 
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