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II-VI: Ordinary “Intel” of Optoelectronics

October, 2019

During the firewall period, waiting for the merger with Finisar to be completely approved, from the CEO of II-VI, Chuck Mattera, people in the industry got the impression that he expected the combined company to become kind of the “Intel” of optoelectronics. Putting aside the fact that the actual Intel has played a prominent role in helping to destroy the data communications optical ecosystem, and perhaps is not the best example to use in that context, II-VI will be getting on a me-too line of large component companies, which have either begun the transition from modules to chips or are involved in contemplating the idea. Broadcom and Lumentum are the most notable players. There is Sumitomo, which is similarly looking to both move down the food chain, and we would not be surprised if it decides to offer VCSEL bare die in a big way for data communications applications. In addition...

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II-VI’s Gloomy Look Under Finisar’s Hood

November, 2019

In fibeReality’s opinion, irrespective of II-VI leadership’s original plans with its big merger, figuring out what to do with the mess that was left by Finisar’s interim CEO, Michael Hurlston, along with the implicit approval of the corporate board, will be the biggest challenge in its entire existence. We certainly anticipated some problems a year ago: “[T]he extent of the problematic overlap between the artificial, perforated lines created by Finisar…is uncertain. The basic idea was to break up the company into pieces, and potentially sell them off. However, in doing so, a lot of synergies get thrown away in that the company is not fully taking advantage of the strengths of its personnel. With Finisar having gone down this road for a while, it may be doubtful as to whether II-VI can undo all of the damage….” Also at an EPIC conference in October, we discussed that the...

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Broadcom: Selective Focus on Transceivers

November, 2019

  As fibeReality pointed out in a recent article, the counseling from Hock Tan, CEO of Broadcom, to his former executive on the wireless side of his business, Michael Hurlston, who became head of Finisar, was to make an already terrible situation become as unrecoverable as possible. We understand that it had at least the appearance of a tag-team effort, as Ford Tamer, CEO of Inphi, another alum of Broadcom, became an active participant, as he made the offer (which again, II-VI CEO, Chuck Mattera blocked) to purchase Finisar’s IC group. His interest in trying to help Tan further debilitate the large optical module vendor, including in encouraging the foolish change in strategy to a contract manufacturer model, seemed logical, partially in that we expect Inphi to be acquired by the chip giant down the road. Obviously, Inphi would have also benefited in the shorter term by acquiring...

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Sumitomo’s Datacom VCSELs: Saving Face

December, 2019

Despite being a data communications module producer, Sumitomo’s purchase of Emcore’s VCSEL business in 2012 was a mistake. The former did not really know what it was buying. (We understand there was even a lawsuit because Sumitomo felt it got sold a bill of goods.) For example, all of the high-quality epi growers had already left the American supplier. Yet, regardless of paying only a relatively small amount of money ($17 million) and despite the fact that there has been barely any association between the Japanese vendor and these types of lasers in the industry, there has been an insistence to avoid losing face on the deal. (It may even explain why employees who were let go after closing the operation in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2014, were given generous, six-month severance packages). After the technology was moved to Japan, Sumitomo was willing to lose money on continuing...

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CPO Gaining on COBO Regarding Irrelevance

December, 2019

Notwithstanding the title of this article, a good number of optical suppliers, which want to do business with Microsoft, are likely to be too wary about totally ceasing resource allocation to both the Co-packaged Optics (CPO) and the Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) concepts. fibeReality understands that the head of COBO, Brad Booth, no longer reports to the top cloud infrastructure executive, Jeff Cox, who is obviously pushing the CPO effort. Unsurprisingly then, we have also just learned conclusively that COBO will not be deployed at Microsoft. Concerning CPO, which of course, also has the support of Facebook, it is the holy grail, and we started addressing the major technological challenges over a year ago. However, even though at ECOC 2019, one or more speakers entertained at least the partial employment of CPO at 51.2 terabits per second, our confidence level in the use of...

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