From Motorola’s Shadow to Global Luminary

ON Semiconductor is a semiconductor supplier based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Known as “onsemi” for short, this Knowledge Leader is a global leader in intelligent power and sensing solutions for industries ranging from automotive to industrial, and from 5G & cloud power to medical solutions.

Founded in 1999, the company began as a spinoff from Motorola’s Semiconductor Components Group, carrying forward Motorola’s legacy of producing discrete, standard analog, and standard logic devices. The name “onsemi,” stylized in lowercase, is a reflection of the company’s forward-thinking approach. In less than two decades onsemi secured a spot on the Fortune 500 list, ranking #483 based on its 2021 sales. This achievement was not just a testament to its financial success but also an acknowledgment of its growing influence in the semiconductor sector. Over the years, ON Semiconductor has made strategic acquisitions to bolster its position in the market. For instance, in 2000, just a year after its founding, ON Semiconductor acquired Cherry Semiconductor. This was followed by a series of acquisitions, including TESLA SEZAM and TEROSIL in the Czech Republic in 2003, LSI Logic Gresham in 2006, and AMI Semiconductor in 2008, to name a few. Each of these acquisitions played a pivotal role in expanding ON Semiconductor’s product portfolio and market reach. Another significant milestone in ON Semiconductor’s history was its acquisition of Fairchild Semiconductor in September 2016. This move further solidified ON Semiconductor’s position in the semiconductor industry, bringing together two giants with complementary product lines.

onsemi 1200 v EliteSiC M3S Devices, credit: onsemi

onsemi 1200 v EliteSiC M3S Devices, credit: onsemi

Groundbreaking Technological Innovations

One of onsemi’s most significant technological breakthroughs was in the area of optical image stabilization for smartphone camera modules. Imagine a world where every picture taken from a moving vehicle or in low light conditions turned out blurry. That was the reality before optical image stabilization became mainstream. ON Semiconductor’s 2013 innovation in this space was a game-changer. By allowing the camera module to compensate for minor hand shudders or vibrations, this technology ensured that images remained sharp and clear, even under challenging conditions.

The global impact of this innovation was profound. Today, optical image stabilization is a standard feature in most high-end smartphones. It has transformed the way we capture memories, ensuring that our photos are always in focus, irrespective of the conditions. This breakthrough not only set a new benchmark for camera technology but also paved the way for further innovations in the smartphone industry.

The transformation it brought to the industry was multifold. First, it raised consumer expectations. A blurry photo was no longer acceptable, and smartphone manufacturers had to incorporate this technology to remain competitive. Second, it opened up new avenues for content creators. With stabilized video and sharp images, even amateur photographers could produce professional-quality content. Last, it spurred further research and development in the domain of camera technology, leading to innovations like super-resolution zoom and computational photography.