Mike Buetow

Industry chatter has long said M&A activity among the major SMT placement companies is inevitable.

Yet, throughout the gut-wrenching downturn of 2001-02, the widespread pause in 2008-09, and the subsequent fallout starting last spring, nothing concrete took place.

Read more: Is there ‘Place’ for More SMT JVs?

Mike Buetow

Rapid prototyping and first-article inspection are technologies that have been around for years, but should gain significant momentum in the coming months as companies look to cut the cost of new products. It can't happen soon enough: Years ago then-Flextronics CTO Nic Braithwaite told me he calculated a large, multi-board server program could conceivably cost $50 million to ramp, once all the ECOs and respins were accounted for.

Read more: Half Staff

PCB design software development wasn’t always dominated by a trio of giants. Even not-so-old timers will remember the landscape once overflowed with small, entrepreneurial businesses. Pads, Cooper & Chyan, Redac, CADI, CADAM, OrCAD, Symbionics, ACT, Ambit and countless others were the foundation for what has emerged as Mentor Graphics, Cadence and Zuken.

Read more: The Rise of the Small?

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