NEC to Renesas: What's In a Name?

In April 2010, the company formerly known as NEC Electronics Corp. became Renesas Electronics Corp. When a firm with a recognizable name such as NEC changes it, people want to know why. The answer, according to Omid Milani, Director, Display Business Unit, Renesas Electronics America, Inc., is that a merger took place in order to maximize the synergies and business of two large, global semiconductor companies (NEC Electronics and Renesas Technology) and create a leading worldwide microcontroller company. Up until now, NEC Electronics Corp. has sold semiconductors and displays, whereas Renesas Technology has sold only semi-conductors. The new entity in the Americas, Renesas Electronics Corp., will sell all those products.

But why Renesas as opposed to NEC? Company officials would not explain exactly why not NEC, but they did say that they had already spent considerable time and effort in branding the Renesas name with regard to microcontrollers. They believe that it is in the best interests of the new entity to continue in that vein in order to underscore the micro-controller emphasis.

As part of the merger, Renesas Electronics America, Inc., now a wholly owned subsidiary of the above-mentioned Renesas Electronics Corp., has been formed through the integration of NEC Electronics America, Inc., and Renesas Technology America. This change has been a point of interest for U.S. vendors who buy NEC's display products, many of which are specialized for the medical and industrial markets. Because NEC Electronics America was the sole supplier of NEC LCD Technologies displays in the Americas, a possible cause for concern was that the change in name might signal other changes. Not so, says Milani: "For the former NEC Electronics America display customers, there is little change – the business cards change; otherwise, everything stays the same." The official announcement from Renesas reiterated this explanation, stating: "A primary aim of Renesas Electronics America is to ensure that customers have easy, rapid access to the complete system solutions they need – semiconductors, hardware/software tools, application assistance, manufacturing – so they can quickly address market opportunities. … In addition, Renesas Electronics America is the sales and marketing channel in the Americas for industrial-type active-matrix LCD modules from NEC LCD Technologies, Ltd."

Renesas Technology, based in Tokyo, was established in 2003 as a joint venture between Hitachi, Ltd., and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. Heading up the newly formed Renesas Electronics America is Chairman Yuichi Kawakami, former President and CEO of NEC Electronics America, and President and CEO Daniel Mahoney, former president and CEO of Renesas Technology America.

– Jenny Donelan


News Brief

Touch International Introduces MulTI-Touch Technology

Touch International, a touch-screen manufacturer specializing in custom touch-screen designs, has announced the release of MulTI-Touch, which the company is claiming is the most advanced multi-touch projected-capacitive technology in the market to date. The Windows-7-compatible MulTI-Touch technology supports up to 10-finger touch and works with water spray, bare and gloved fingers, and pen input, making it useful for many interactive applications.

MulTI-Touch technology is now available in 10.1-in. screen sizes with additional formats expected by Q3 2010. •