back to article How the US-China trade war is felt stateside: Xilinx trims workforce after lucrative Huawei sales pipe blocked

A small round of layoffs at Silicon Valley's Xilinx was the result of the US government's ongoing war on Huawei, one of the FPGA designer's top customers. According to the latest California Workforce Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) report [PDF], in late January the semiconductor veteran told Golden State …

  1. Sanctimonious Prick
    Devil

    For The USA...

    You reap what you sow.

    1. b0llchit
      Coat

      Re: For The USA...

      Like modern accounting: Sow dollar bills, reap pennies.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    So who is actually happy?

    From my basic understanding of El Trumps politics cutting of Huawei was presented as a security measure. I was of the understanding that this then meant that a homegrown provider was going to make a handsome living by sweeping up the 5g contracts.

    So despite the layoffs in the Xiling quarters is there actually an American based company who is currently smiling like a Cheshire Cat or is this situation just another El Trump Cluster Fuck?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: So who is actually happy?

      The Feds are trying to make somebody buy a controlling interest in Nokia or Ericsson, so that they can smile again... Hopefully Europe will tell them where to get off.

      1. Snorlax

        Re: So who is actually happy?

        ” The Feds are trying to make somebody buy a controlling interest in Nokia or Ericsson, so that they can smile again... Hopefully Europe will tell them where to get off.”

        For a country that despises ‘socialism’, Bill Barr’s suggestion that the state should take over a private company would make Stalin proud.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So who is actually happy?

          ...Lenin.

          Stalin tried to "collectivise" agriculture which is a bit like....oh, some American corporation growing enormous by buying up and swallowing all the competition.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: So who is actually happy?

      That would require a homegrown US company capable of providing 5G equipment. There isn't one.

      The alternatives are Ericsson and Nokia. Make Scandinavia great again!

      1. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)

        Re: So who is actually happy?

        Siemens also.

      2. Slx

        Re: So who is actually happy?

        Finland's not in Scandinavia :) That's only Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So who is actually happy?

          Would you mind taking your inconvenient facts and using them elsewhere?

          The only way of saving the US telecoms industry is by destroying Huawei, allowing Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens to prosper and re-nationalising ALL of Scandinavia when Trump purchases Greenland. As part of the renationalisation, Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens become US companies again and the US owns every country they have major facilities in. Hell, what's an international boundary between friends?

          Trade war with China? $134bn

          Buying Greenland? $533bn

          The look on the EU's face when the US owns Scandinavia and Germany? Priceless...

        2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: So who is actually happy?

          You mean Scandinavia and the world has been lying to us about brother Finland? I for one am shocked.

          (pirate icon because its the closest to vikings)

        3. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: So who is actually happy?

          "Finland's not in Scandinavia", nor is Denmark actually because Scandinavia is really the mountain range between Norway and Sweden and then again Finland was Sweden until 1809 when the Russians managed to grab the eastern part of Sweden, that is Finland.

          The commander of the Swedish army then had his head chopped off in Stockholm for ending the era of Swedish power in the north.

          Finland become a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire, kept Swedish law and society as before. In 1918 when the Russians were preoccupied with their revolution Finland declared itself independent.

          When people speak about Finland as Scandinavia they refer to culture and society for good reasons, but it's better to talk about the Nordic countries as that then also includes Iceland. And the Nordic Counsil is not called the Scandinavian Counsil

          "The Nordic Council is the official body for formal inter-parliamentary co-operation among the Nordic countries. Formed in 1952, it has 87 representatives from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as well as from the autonomous areas of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands.".

      3. Sanctimonious Prick
        Thumb Up

        Re: So who is actually happy?

        I'd love to see Nokia Be Great Again.

        I once read half a book about Nokia (i lost the book and the title cannot be found online).

        They started out in 1885/86 - they were best known for their dunny paper (toilet paper - the stuff you... yeah), and rope. The country was so proud of their quality dunny paper, that they renamed the town to NOKIA.

        Nokia, like the French company, Veolia, went through a lot of acquisitions and divestments (divestments = selling the bits that don't make a profit to someone else).

        Nokia is a company I'd love to support, and I'd kind of be proud of that, because I believe I'm supporting a company that has history, doesn't seem corrupt, and, while some of their CEOs have committed suicide, died, they are a company that survives. Seriously. Look at them now! Apart from WhooHoo, they're the 2nd largest supplier of mobile infrastructure in the world.

        I love you, Nokia.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cutting of Huawei was presented as a security measure.

      I am much more inclined to believe it's a trade war dressed up as "security concerns".

      The persistent pursuit of profit inevitably will lead to R&D becoming a "cost" and shaved to the minimum. It's how capitalism works.

      The wider problem is that even if Fortress America could simply ban all things Huawei, there really is no indigenous industry infrastructure that will suddenly appear from nowhere, as if activated in a (bad) sci-fi movie.

      This isn't the US that went to the moon (on the backs of German rocket scientists). This is the US that turned all of that into souvenirs and slogans.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: cutting of Huawei was presented as a security measure.

        "I am much more inclined to believe it's a trade war dressed up as "security concerns"."

        It's an economic war where the US is attempting to address Chinese economic might before China has the ability to stamp its authority on countries in the region by taking territory. I'm not trying to sell this as anything other than US self-interest - if this does escalate, the people that suffer will not be those (in the US or elsewhere) who stood to benefit.

        "The persistent pursuit of profit inevitably will lead to R&D becoming a "cost" and shaved to the minimum. It's how capitalism works."

        And you can shave even more costs by using other's R&D until economics forces non-Chinese competitors out of business. I'll leave the arguments about whether this is capitalism to others.

        1. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: cutting of Huawei was presented as a security measure.

          China doesn't want any territory it doesn't consider it's traditional sphere. So Taiwan and the Spratlys. The belt and road program is all about facilitating trade. You can call it more efficient resource extraction but that is just another name for trade.

          In the South Pacific wooden wharves, grass airstrips and dirt roads funded by Australia and New Zealand have been upgraded to concrete wharves, paved airstrips and tarsealed roads. NZ and Oz left to bluster about Pacific states 'not understanding what they're getting into'. But they have been embarrassed and shown wanting.

          So China gets more efficient coconut milk and copra trading along with better fish sales. The Pacific states get better trade and those facilities can be used to trade with everyone, not just China.

          In West Africa there were silly things like rail lines and roads not crossing Anglophone/Francophone borders. China looked at such silliness and linked those borders and now inter country trade across those borders is booming. The Colonialist West shown to be short sighted and not interested in proper African development.

          Yes China tends to use Chinese companies and workers to do the development but Britain shipped Indians around the world to do the same. Why there were Indians in Uganda for Amin to expel and in Fiji to cause lots of problems recently. The French behaved similarly.

          In Alaska the Russians educate and employed the Inuit in administration. When the US bought it they sacked all the inuit and brought in white Americans to do their jobs.

          Are there problems with China? Yes but I like a lot of what they are doing in the world and watching the West grump about it is priceless entertainment.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: cutting of Huawei was presented as a security measure.

            "Are there problems with China? Yes but I like a lot of what they are doing in the world and watching the West grump about it is priceless entertainment."

            The human rights abuses or creating economic servitude before raping the natural resources of underdeveloped countries?

            Sure, America and European countries did similar things 50+ years ago but I thought we were trying to clean up these messes, not make more.

            Suggesting that Chinas ambitions around the Spratley's amounts to traditional territory ignores clear overreach. NZ and Australia's role in the development of Pacific Islands may have been surpassed, but again I fear China's interests are exploitive rather than necessarily in said countries best interests.

            Let's see how opinions change over the coming years.

  3. al475

    I'm sure Silicon Valley can quickly absorb a few ex-employees of Xilinx. In fact there are too many job openings and too few available workers. Now is the best time to take on Huawei and China. If anything, trade war with China will actually help moderate our overheated economy.

    So yes, if more China dependent tech companies such as Micron and Qualcommm start laying off employees, it's actually a good thing for the long-term health of the U.S. economy.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Cut off trade with your largest trading partner to prevent the economy overheating.

      Mind if I use that line?

      D Cummings

    2. iron Silver badge

      Yup coz laying off employees and possibly losing companies in the worlds of CPU & memory design & manufacture can only be a good thing for your economy. You didn't want those chip fabs anyway, right?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "You didn't want those chip fabs anyway, right?"

        You're confusing design with production. Xilinx is fabless:

        - https://www.xilinx.com/support/quality/quality-manufacturing.html

        - https://www.eenewsanalog.com/news/xilinx-realtek-winners-top-ten-ranking-fabless-chip-companies

        I believe almost all of Xilinx's fab work is handled by TSMC in Taiwan.

    3. Bachelorette

      Xilinx

      A quick search on Google shows Xilinx was probably a pretty good company:

      Xilinx joined the Fortune ranks of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2001 as No. 14, rose to No. 6 in 2002 and rose again to No. 4 in 2003. In December 2008, the Global Semiconductor Alliance named Xilinx the Most Respected Public Semiconductor Company with $500 million to $10 billion in annual sales.

      In 2019, Xilinx exceeded $3 billion in annual revenues for the first time, announcing record revenues of $3.06 billion, up 24% from the prior fiscal year. Revenues were $828 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019, up 4% from the prior quarter and up 30% year over year.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      You set up an account just so you could post that garbage?

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Apparently so. We used to have better quality trolls back when the Sainted Ms. Bee was here. Sigh. Make the comments section great again! Bring back the Bee!

  4. Snorlax
    Black Helicopters

    Isn't It Ironic?

    No, not the Alanis Morissette song...

    US government tells us that the Chinese will hoover up our calls and data traffic if they’re allowed to build 5G networks in the West.

    Meanwhile, in the news last week we discover that the CIA was running a Swiss front company, Crypto AG, which had backdoored encryption devices used by governments worldwide. Seriously, fuck these guys...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Isn't It Ironic?

      So the CIA should just buy Huawei, problem solved

      1. sw guy

        Re: Isn't It Ironic?

        I propose a vote for best comment of month

      2. Snorlax

        Re: Isn't It Ironic?

        True. Uncle Sam doesn’t like competition.

      3. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Isn't It Ironic?

        More upvotes. Have one of these though ->

      4. mhenriday
        Boffin

        So the CIA should just buy Huawei, problem solved

        And if not the CIA, Motorola instead ?...

        Henri

        1. Snorlax

          Re: So the CIA should just buy Huawei, problem solved

          Didn’t Motorola sell their cellular business to Nokia Siemens a decade ago?

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Isn't it wonderful what happens when economic policy is driven by foresight that doesn't extend beyond the next tweet. Or referendum.

  6. W. Anderson

    Gross ignorance, naivete and bigotry displayed amoung many Americans

    The continued suggestion that USA/American firms should unilaterally take over Ericsson and Nokia and pay them what pittance Bill Barr deems appropriate is ludicrous on it's face, and particularly dangerous in intimation that USA is International dictator, from which the reactions of most Americans would suggest is acceptable.

    As earlier comments clearly note, the USA spied on foe AND friends - industrial espionage, anyone? for fifty years through Crypto AG, and combining this knowledge with similar espionage revelations from official NSA documents exposed by Edward Snowden and even now most all Americans with whom I have discussed topic, even some in professional technology, are quite ambivalent - and even proud - that USA is shown as totally bigoted and destructive in it's policies and practices under the Trump Administration against any and all other countries and corporations.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The suggestions about US companies acquiring Ericsson and Nokia are based around three things:

    - massive M&A fees

    - Ericsson/Nokia-Siemens are between 4G and 5G cycles so purchasing now would allow a financial bounce from the acquisition

    - market cap for Ericsson/Nokia-Siemens has been flat/declining for the last 5 years so the belief is there is value to be extracted...

    As for the likelihood of this happening? Outside of the big cloud companies, I'm not sure any of the telco/network companies could afford the costs of merging two struggling businesses to make one larger struggling business....

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