Maxim Integrated develops integrated circuits (ICs) for the automotive, industrial, communications, consumer, and computing markets. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, and has design centers, manufacturing facilities, and sales offices throughout the world. In the fiscal year 2018, it had US$2.48 billion in sales, 7150 employees, and 35,000 customers worldwide. Maxim is a Fortune 1000 company and its stock is a component of the NASDAQ-100 stock market index. In December 2018, Maxim was re-added to the S&P 500.
Maxim was founded in April 1983. Its nine initial team members had a variety of experience in semiconductors design and sales. The founding team included Jack Gifford, an industry pioneer since the 1960s; Fred Beck, an IC sales and distribution pioneer; Dave Bingham, General Electric’s Scientist of the Year in 1982; Steve Combs, a pioneer in wafer technologies and manufacturing; Lee Evans, also a pioneer in CMOS analog microchip design and General Electric’s Scientist of the Year in 1982; Dave Fullagar, inventor of the first internally compensated operational amplifier circuit; Roger Fuller, yet another pioneer in CMOS microchip design; Rich Hood, development director for some of the first microprocessor-controlled semiconductor test systems; and Dick Wilenken, who is acknowledged as the father of key analog switch and multiplexer technologies. Based on a two-page business plan, they obtained US$9 million in venture capital to establish the company. In the first year, the company developed 24 second-source products. After that, Maxim designed proprietary products that offered greater differentiation and higher profits.
Logo prior to September 2012
In 1985, the industry was introduced to the MAX600, the first proprietary product to win an industry award and start decades of technical innovation. Maxim recorded its first profitable fiscal year in 1987, with the help of a product called MAX232, and posted a profit every year since it went public in 1988. Annual revenue reached $500 million in fiscal year 1998 and in fiscal 2011 totaled over $2.47 billion. In 2005, Maxim became a Fortune 100 company. Three years later, the company established its Chief Technical Office, and the number of patents rose by 50% over the next two years. In 2010, the company shipped its first analog product on a 300mm wafer.
Maxim's product portfolio now includes power and battery management ICs, sensors, analog ICs, interface ICs, communications solutions, digital ICs, embedded security, and microcontrollers. In these product segments, the company has made some notable achievements.
On the power front, Maxim introduced nanoPower technology in 2017, encompassing ICs with less than a microamp of quiescent current and ideal for small, portable, battery-powered products. Quiescent current is the largest contributor of a system's standby power consumption. By utilizing components with low quiescent current, designers can ensure delivery of efficient power to their designs as well as extended battery life. nanoPower ICs are also available in small package sizes and require few external components to save space for today's compact electronic products. In 2018, Maxim introduced DARWIN microcontrollers. DARWIN microcontrollers complement nanoPower ICs by providing the lowest active mode and SRAM retention power available, the biggest embedded memories in their class, a scalable memory architecture, and advanced embedded security. Maxim's portfolio of low-power devices also includes switching regulators, battery management ICs, isolated power devices, Himalaya power modules, display power and control devices, power management ICs (PMICs), charge pumps, linear regulators, LED drivers, supervisors, voltage monitors, sequencers, motor driver ICs, protection and control devices, power over Ethernet devices, and MOSFET drivers and controllers.
With portable applications finding their way into more industries, effective battery management has become increasingly important. Maxim's battery management portfolio includes fuel-gauge ICs with the proprietary ModelGauge algorithm, which provides a high level of accuracy of battery state-of-charge without requiring battery characterization. Many of today's portable applications are part of the internet of things (IoT) movement and, as such, have sensors inside. Maxim develops a variety of sensor solutions for wearables and IoT devices, including biopotential sensors, temperature sensors, and optical sensor ICs. Its biopotential sensors are biopotential and bioimpedance analog front-end ICs with clinical-grade accuracy, designed to measure various health parameters from wearable form factors. Temperature sensors can also be used in healthcare wearables for monitoring body temperature. The company's optical sensors include ambient light sensor ICs that measure visible light in the environment, proximity sensor ICs that measure infrared light reflected from an object, body-wearable sensors for tracking physical activity, and optical particle sensing solutions that detect airborne particles such as smoke from a fire.
Embedded security ICs from Maxim can be used to protect smart, connected designs from hacking, counterfeiting, and unauthorized usage. In November 2017, the company introduced secure authenticators with physically unclonable function (PUF) technology. Invasive attacks typically target cryptographic keys inside secure ICs, compromising the IC. With PUF technology, the key is not stored in memory or any other static state; it is generated based on the precise analog characteristics of the IC and only when needed, making it immune to known invasive attack tools and capabilities.
Analog ICs are a core product area for Maxim. These high-performance building blocks provide a variety of features and capabilities, from ultra-low power consumption to extended battery life, precision signal conversion, and rugged connectivity. A highlight in 2018 for this versatile product line was the electronica 2018 trade show, where attendees saw demos including a nanoPower watch, force-touch technology, CAN ESD protection, and an ISM RF transmitter-based home automation system.