It All Started on the Back of a Napkin

04/22/2021 | Tyson Tuttle | 2 Min Read

Not the actual napkin, but you get the idea


It all started on the back of a napkin.

Stay with me here. Back in 2014, I was at an industry event with famed EE Times editor Junko Yoshida when I took a napkin and scribbled something on it. No, it wasn't my phone number. The drawing I showed Junko, as I'm sure she would corroborate, was a sketch of what became the first IoT SoC. And thus began Silicon Labs' journey to become the undisputed leader of intelligent wireless connectivity for the IoT.

Fast forward to present day and Silicon Labs is doubling down to capitalize on the large and rapidly expanding global IoT business opportunity by signing a definitive agreement to sell our Infrastructure & Automotive (I&A) business to Skyworks, a highly respected, publicly traded U.S. semiconductor company that manufactures semiconductors for use in RF and mobile communications systems. When the transaction closes, Silicon Labs will be the world's number one pure play IoT silicon, software and solutions company.

I encourage you to read more about the decision to engage in a divestiture of that business in our press release, but the key rationale for this move is ensure both businesses (which are already successful) get the focus they deserve to succeed and grow. As excited as I am for the next chapter in our 25-year history, I do feel a sense of nostalgia as I get ready to say goodbye to the truly outstanding people, products and IP that make up our I&A business.

I've spent the majority of my tenure at Silicon Labs as an active contributor to our I&A business, and it's a part of who I am. In 2003, I started the company's line of radio and TV tuner chips to receive over-the-air signals first in mobile phones and media players, and later in consumer products and automotive. I've been so lucky to work with wonderful people on a wide range of outstanding broadcast, timing, power, isolation and Internet infrastructure products and many of those people are still at Silicon Labs. In fact, some of the broadcast products we designed years ago are still being bought and sold to this day. That's a testament to the design talent of this world-class I&A team. The $2.75 billion purchase price of the divestiture speaks volumes about the I&A team's value, successes, talent and strong IP portfolio. I know that Skyworks is eager to welcome the I&A team into their ranks when the transaction closes.

That brings me to the rocket ship that is our IoT business. We have a clear path to becoming the pure-play leader of intelligent wireless connectivity for the IoT. With the massive growth in connected devices and positive asset valuation environment, now is the time for Silicon Labs to be laser-focused on the large, diverse, growing IoT opportunity. Our wireless portfolio is unmatched in breadth and depth. We have the industry's leading secure, IoT hardware and software platform. And our strong and expanding set of ecosystem partnerships like Amazon, Google, Comcast and Tuya are helping to deliver sustainable design win momentum. Most importantly, we have a continued mission to help developers quickly go from idea to innovation with IoT devices that transform industries, grow economies and improve lives.

We can't wait to tell our pure-play IoT story to the industry. While the Silicon Labs we've been for the past 25 years evolves to this level, we are as committed as ever to helping our world become a smarter, more connected place. I can honestly say that this is as excited as I have ever been in my career for what's next. Perhaps it's time to pick up a pen and grab another napkin!

Tyson Tuttle
Tyson Tuttle
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