# Silicon Labs CEO：我为什么要卖掉占公司40%营收的汽车电子业务？（双语音频）

Silicon Labs刚刚宣布将出售其全部汽车业务，约占公司收入的40％。我们向Tuttle提出一个问题：一家公司将剥离自己的大部分股份会怎样？

This week, we’ll be talking with Silicon Labs CEO Tyson Tuttle. Silicon Labs just announced it will be selling off its entire automotive business, which represents roughly 40 percent of the company’s revenue. We put the question to Tuttle: What would possess a company to divest that big of a chunk of itself?

CEO Interview: Tyson Tuttle of Silicon Labs

Silicon Labs is a mid-sized semiconductor design house founded in 1996. Over the years it has established a reputation for tightly focused innovation in its chosen market segments.

Silicon Labs是一家成立于1996年的中型半导体设计公司。多年来，它在选定的细分市场中以专注于创新而著称。

Silicon Labs hired Tyson Tuttle as CEO in 2012. He immediately focused the company on the Internet of Things market, leveraging the company’s expertise in the wireless technologies that are critical for IoT connectivity. The company’s other major division covers automotive and infrastructure.

Silicon Labs在2012年聘请Tyson Tuttle担任首席执行官。他利用公司在物联网连接至关重要的无线技术方面的专业知识，立即将公司聚焦于物联网市场。该公司的其他主要部门涵盖汽车和基础设施。

Now, back in 2014, Silicon Labs’ IoT operations brought in a little over 15 percent (that’s 1-5) 15 percent of revenue. Silicon Labs just reported its first quarter earnings earlier this week. IoT now represents 62 percent of the company’s total first quarter revenue of $255 million. 现在，回到2014年，Silicon Labs的物联网业务带来了15％以上的收入。Silicon Labs在本周早些时候刚刚报告了其第一季度收益。物联网现在占该公司第一季度总收入（2.55亿美元）的62％。 The company’s IoT operation and its Automotive & Infrastructure operation both grew, but the IoT group has simply been growing faster. Still, the automotive business is thriving, and it’s heading toward becoming a$400 million annual business. Nothing to sneeze at! And yet, Silicon Labs just announced it sold the operation, for \$2.75 billion, to Skyworks.

Right after the sale was announced, global editor Junko Yoshida got Tuttle on a video call. It was late in the day for both of them, and while the two were talking, the lights at Silicon Labs’ headquarters were turned off for the night. Tuttle bravely soldiered on, lit only by his laptop screen. So if the audio quality is a little off, that’s why.

A quick note on part of the conversation coming up. Junko interviewed Tuttle in 2014, a couple years after he was hired at Silicon Labs. At the time, the IoT market was still very poorly defined, and it wasn’t clear what semiconductor products would be useful or necessary. Well… it wasn’t clear to most people. It was crystal clear to Tuttle.

During that conversation, Tuttle took out a pen and diagrammed what an IoT processor should look like. Cliché of clichés — he did his sketch literally on the back of a napkin. He immediately began showing that diagram around, and it really did help guide how the IoT market developed.

Okay, back to the present, and their interview this week. Junko asked Tuttle what motivated the sale of the company’s automotive operations. Here’s Tuttle’s reply.

TYSON TUTTLE: Usually you hear about companies getting acquired, and here we are investing to win in a new, exciting opportunity and swinging for the fences. I think you were one of the first editors that I talked to about our IOT vision.

TYSON Tuttle：通常您会听说一些公司被收购的消息，在这里我们正投资以赢得新的，令人兴奋的机会，并为之奋斗。我认为您是我谈到我们的物联网愿景的第一批编辑之一。

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Yes.

TYSON TUTTLE: Now that’s over 60% of our business. We had a very high quality infrastructure and automotive business, but it was very different for IoT. There were more components and targeting different customers and markets and different technologies and all of that stuff. And being able to put that into a good home… Skyworks is a great company. And I think that team and those products are in good hands. We got a good valuation for it.

TYSON TUTTLE：现在，这已占我们业务的60％以上。我们拥有非常高质量的基础设施和汽车业务，但它和物联网差别很大。该业务有更多的组件，并且针对不同的客户和市场，不同的技术以及等。并能够将其放置在一个好的归宿……Skyworks是一家出色的公司。而且我认为这个团队和这些产品都被合适的人掌控。为此我们获得了不错的估值。

Now that gives us the focus and clarity to go after this IoT thing as our number one job. And that’s great for the company’s culture, for the customers, the brand, the mission. Even with suppliers, we’re not losing scale. We’ll be back to the same size that we were last year in a couple of years.

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Really? That was the thing that I wanted to ask you because usually I don’t hear companies willing to shed. I think it’s like 42% of the business revenue, right?

JUNKO YOSHIDA: 真的吗？那就是我想问您的问题，因为通常我听不到公司愿意披露。我认为这大约占业务收入的42％，对吗？

TYSON TUTTLE: The 2020 business. But then you have to remember that the infrastructure and automotive business is more modest growth and more profitable. So those would be more value investors investing in that.

TYSON TUTTLE: 这是2020年的数字。但是您必须记住，基础设施和汽车业务的增长较为温和，而且利润更高。因此，那些将是更具价值的投资者进行投资。

And then our IoT business is really on hyper growth. Our model is 20% growth, but this year we’re going to grow 25 to 30% over last year. So you’ve got this very high growth business, then that’s more growth investor. Right?

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Yeah. Okay.

TYSON TUTTLE: And so these two businesses looked very different under the same umbrella. The way to think about it is if we were a pure play IoT company, would we acquire our infrastructure and automotive business? And the answer is no. It grew up under the same umbrella and had a lot of the same sort of common culture and technology. They were targeting very, very different applications and customers.

TYSON TUTTLE：因此，在同一伞下，这两个业务看起来截然不同。思考的方式是，如果我们是一家纯粹的物联网公司，我们是否会收购基础设施和汽车业务？答案是否定的。它是在同一个伞下成长的，并具有许多相同的共同文化和技术。他们的目标是非常不同的应用和客户。

In some ways scale matters, but it only matters if you’re doing more of the same thing, not if you’re doing a whole different set of things. So it was really two different companies under one umbrella.

I just want to point out to you (and you probably can write this down) is that two other companies have really done similar things.

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Really?

TYSON TUTTLE: You look at Cree. So Cree is selling their LED business and their lighting business and focusing on silicon carbide for electric vehicles and going after a pure play. And those guys are highly valued and it’s a big high growth market and they’ve got great differentiation in technology. And so this is similar to that.

TYSON TUTTLE: 你看Cree。因此，Cree正在出售他们的LED业务和照明业务，并专注于电动汽车用碳化硅，并且很专注。那些人非常受重视，这是一个很大的高增长市场，他们在技术上有很大的差异。因此，这与此类似。

And then you also think about what Matt Murphy has done over at Marvell. Right? He sold his WiFi business and the media business and several other things. And when he took over at Marvell, he said, Hey, we need focus. We need to go after the data center and computing and 5G and all of these things with a common platform. And then now they’re pulling it InPhi, and he’s been doing a great job in creating a lot of value over there. So we viewed this as a value creation for our shareholders, and also achieving that focus delivers huge benefits in terms of our ability to accelerate our growth in the IoT markets.

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Right. Six years ago when I when I covered that famous back of the napkin IoT SOC story, I thought that actually you were nuts. Okay?

JUNKO YOSHIDA: 对。六年前，当我谈到餐巾IoT SOC那个著名的背后故事时，我以为实际上你真疯了。好的？

TYSON TUTTLE: Well, I may still be nuts! Some things never change.

TYSON TUTTLE: 嗯，我可能还是疯了！有些事永远不会改变。

JUNKO YOSHIDA: It’s not a knock on you. But I thought that IoT was so undefined and everybody wanted to call his or her business IoT-related. But you are the first executive actually who came out saying that this is the concept, but this is how I define IoT in my business. You had the clear message with that concept.

JUNKO YOSHIDA: 这不是提醒。但是我认为物联网是如此不确定，每个人都想称呼他或她与企业物联网相关的业务。但是，您实际上是第一个高管，出来说这是概念，但这就是我在业务中定义IoT的方式。您对这个概念有清楚的信息。

TYSON TUTTLE: That’s been consistent all the way along. We’ve expanded into some additional wireless standards and we’re now building our third generation silicon platform. So that drawing that I gave you is still essentially the same sort of chips that we’re building today. We’ve added security and we’re adding artificial intelligence. We’re moving smaller process geometries. And then applying that broadly to thousands of applications and tens of thousands of customers.

TYSON TUTTLE：一直以来都是一致的。我们已经扩展到其他一些无线标准，现在正在构建第三代芯片平台。因此，我给您提供的图纸在本质上仍与我们今天正在构建的芯片相同。我们增加了安全性，并增加了人工智能。我们正在向更小的工艺迈进。然后将其广泛应用于成千上万的应用和成千上万的客户。

But we’ve now seen those IoT markets really start taking off. When I started talking about IoT, people didn’t really even know what it meant. And from my perspective, it was like, you have your mobile phones and you have your PCs, and those are connected to the internet, but all this other stuff is going to get connected to the internet. And when you connect something, you create inherent value.

And so whether that value is in convenience or in economic value or saving money or saving energy, making devices more intelligent by connecting them to the internet and connecting them to each other and connecting them to applications and people, creates whole new business models and whole new use cases for devices.

And in fact, in some ways, any sort of device today that you do not connect is kind of a race to the bottom, right? Because all the products we have, if it’s not connected, it’s just static. Whereas when it gets connected, it becomes more intelligent. It evolves in the future.

There’s new functionality that can be embedded into that device, and that’s creating value. And that’s what we’re providing the platform for.

I think one of the other things is, the business we sold were components that go into other people’s systems. Whether it’s an isolator going into an electric vehicle or a timing shift going into a communication system. In IoT, we are doing all of the silicon. We are the ones that are integrating the processing and the memory and the energy battery management, the sensor interfaces, the entire system, both at the hardware and the SOC level, but also at the software levels. All the way from the transistor and the silicon all the way up to the cloud.

This has really transformed the company from being just a pure silicon component provider to be a silicon software and solution provider where we can really control the integration path.

We don’t sell this into PCs or handsets. We sell it very broadly into all these different applications. It’s a very resilient business, because we’re not just dependent on one customer or one application, and we’re sharing… Once we achieve scale in that business, as we scale this up to the point where it’s hitting the profitability targets and all that that we’re putting out there, there’s a high degree of differentiation, a high degree of defensibility in a very high quality… In other words, it’s like a snowball going downhill, right? You’re just building momentum.

There’s kind of an equivalent to this on the software side. So if you think about enterprise software, like Salesforce creates a platform or CRM across industries. We’re creating a silicon and software platform that goes across industries. Either of these companies can’t afford to do it themselves, or if you just do one part, you never achieve the scale to be able to reach this escape velocity that we believe that we finally achieved, which is kind of related to the timing of when we’re doing this. We’ve now reached this critical mass, this escape velocity.

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Let me ask you this: You said that the basic building blocks that you conceptualized in that IoT SOC hasn’t really changed. So in order to have this snowball effect that you’re gunning for, with the booming IoT business, where do you need to actually invest more? There must be a good reason that you wanted to focus on IoT, and I’m just assuming that it’s parts of IoT business that you really need to not just focus on, but you need to invest in. What are they?

JUNKO YOSHIDA: 让我问你一个问题：你说你在IoT SOC中概念化的基本构建块并没有真正改变。因此，为了发挥您不断追求的滚雪球效应，随着蓬勃发展的物联网业务，您实际上需要在哪里进行更多投资？您一定有充分的理由要专注于物联网，而我只是假设它确实是物联网业务的一部分，您不仅需要专注于物联网，还需要投资。它们是什么？

TYSON TUTTLE: Certainly we need to increase our investments in Bluetooth and WiFi, which are two of the key wireless standards for IoT. We’ve got a great position in both of those, but there’s additional investments in silicon platforms and software and support that need to happen as we do our third… and really into our third generation silicon platform. So there’s a lot of software to do. There’s additional silicon to do, and there’s additional standards to get critical mass around.

TYSON TUTTLE：当然，我们需要增加对蓝牙和WiFi的投资，这是IoT的两个关键无线标准。我们在这两个方面都拥有很强的地位，但是在我们真正进入第三代硅平台时，需要在硅平台，软件和支持方面进行额外的投资。因此，有很多软件可以做。还有其他芯片的工作要做，还有其他标准可以解决关键问题。

And the focus that we’re going to be able to achieve by doing this… and we will be freeing up some additional dollars to be able to invest in R&D to accelerate those developments internally. We’re able to reset our financial model and then grow from there and have this ramp in profitability over time as we scale.

So it allows us to kind of front-end load some of those investments that were hard to make, actually. Even though the company was more profitable before, we were really valued more on the earnings, and now we’re going to really be valued more on the growth.

JUNKO YOSHIDA: I see.

TYSON TUTTLE: We’re at this point where the pandemic has accelerated the demand for our products and accelerated the adoption of IoT technology. And so that’s a really important thing to think. Why now? It’s not as though has the IoT business reached this kind of critical mass. The markets are really taking off. And so to really capitalize on that and to be able to achieve leadership requires focus and purity in terms of what we’re doing. And we believe that we can run faster as a pure play company in this area.

TYSON TUTTLE：在这一点上，新冠疫情已经加速了对我们产品的需求，并加速了IoT技术的采用。因此，这是一件非常重要的事情。为什么现在？物联网业务似乎并没有达到这种临界水平。市场真的起飞了。因此，要真正利用这一点并获得领导才能，就需要我们做事的重点和纯正性。而且我们相信，在这方面，作为一家纯粹公司，我们可以更快地运转。

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Can I ask you something? I don’t think I’m quite comprehending. When you said that you need to invest more on things like WiFi and Bluetooth, I thought those are standardized products. Why do you need to invest more? What’s going on there?

JUNKO YOSHIDA：我能问你一件事吗？我认为我不太了解。当您说需要在WiFi和蓝牙等方面进行更多投资时，我认为这些都是标准化的产品。为什么需要增加投资？那里发生了什么事？

TYSON TUTTLE: Well, to be able to address thousands of applications and tens of thousands of customers, you have to build out a portfolio of products. So it’s a platform.

TYSON TUTTLE：好吧，要能够处理成千上万的应用和成千上万的客户，您必须构建一系列产品。所以这是一个平台。

Today, if you’re going to achieve leadership, you have to run faster. Right? You have to move into the next process nodes, and you’ve got to get into the next version of the standard. And you’ve got to have all the variations of those technologies and all the various permutations to be able to address more and more of that market.

We’ve got a great position in the market in a lot of areas. But you’ve gotta be able to make those investments and run faster to be able to gain the market share as the markets are growing. The IoT markets are growing about 15% per year. And so with our 20% per year model that we’re putting out, that means that we’re going to be gaining market share over time.

JUNKO YOSHIDA: Wow.

TYSON TUTTLE: We see evidence of this. We see companies like TI kind of not really keeping up. Other companies might do a chip for lighting or try to go after one market or another. But if you don’t have the critical mass of being able to have revenue from all of these markets, it doesn’t work.

TYSON TUTTLE：我们看到了这方面的证据。我们看到像TI这样的公司并没有跟上步伐。其他公司可能会制造用于照明的芯片，或者试图占领一个市场或另一个市场。但是，如果您没有足够的能力从所有这些市场中获得收入，那将是行不通的。

In other words, the leader in a market is always the one that achieves the best return on their investment. And so it’s our view that focusing on accelerating our path to that market leadership… While today we have a market leadership, but the market is going to be much, much, much bigger in the future. And so that requires even greater momentum.

BRIAN SANTO: That was Silicon Labs CEO Tyson Tuttle, with EE Times global editor Junko Yoshida. We’ve got a link to Junko’s story on the podcast episode web page.

BRIAN SANTO：那是Silicon Labs的首席执行官Tyson Tuttle，与EE Times全球编辑Junko Yoshida的对话。我们在播客插播网页上有一个指向Junko的故事的链接。

Junko Yoshida
ASPENCORE全球联席总编辑，首席国际特派记者。曾任把口记者（beat reporter）和EE Times主编的Junko Yoshida现在把更多时间用来报道全球电子行业，尤其关注中国。 她的关注重点一直是新兴技术和商业模式，新一代消费电子产品往往诞生于此。 她现在正在增加对中国半导体制造商的报道，撰写关于晶圆厂和无晶圆厂制造商的规划。 此外，她还为EE Times的Designlines栏目提供汽车、物联网和无线/网络服务相关内容。 自1990年以来，她一直在为EE Times提供内容。
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