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'Cheaper PICs !'
1999\04\19@043718 by Tjaart van der Walt

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It seems that the people at Microchip who decide what
PICs will cost are experiencing some indecision whether
as to drop (make that slash) the prices or not.

Just to make things easier for them, I have decided to
post a reality check every now and then. I think they
owe me a beer for being so helpful!

Let's start with a few PIC clones that cost
significantly less than the Mchip original :

1) http://www.g-alantic.com.tw/IC-products.htm
  The line-up includes flash versions of the C5X series
2) http://members.xoom.com/eze/indexe.htm

Now let's move on to PIC clones that are acually
better than the originals :
http://www.scenix.com (supported by many development tools)

Now let's compare Mchip to the competition. As
a basis for comparisson, I will use the new 16F877 :
1) Motorola : The XC68HC908GP20 competes head-on with
  the 16F877, but with 20k Flash and 512 bytes RAM.
  The (unconfirmed as yet) prices seems to be around
  the halfway mark of the 16F877. You can check out
  the datasheet at :
  http://design-net.com/csic/techdata/databook/9gp20r2.pdf

2) ATMEL : The 90LS8535 AVR is about half the price
  for a little bit more functionality and RAM. You
  can check out the datasheet at :
  ftp://http://www.atmel.com/pub/atmel/1041.exe

Now let's see if some good news is forthcoming...

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1999\04\19@192820 by Sean Breheny

face picon face
I must agree with Tjaart, Microchip has to take a good look at most of
their prices.

I used to think that PICs were the best microcontrollers in their class.
However, I recently have been playing with SCENIX's SX18 and I may be
looking into ATMEL's line and some of Motorola's products. I think that
Mchip still has the edge in certain areas (8-pin micros and on-chip
peripherals,at least as compared to the SX),but in many designs, I simply
don't need those features and the SX or others seem to be the clear choice
because of price and other considerations (such as speed).

I have a fair emotional attachment to PICs since they were the first
microcontroller that I really seriously used. I would very much like to see
PICs A)brought up to date with regard to speed and memory capacity and
B)have their prices decreased.

Sean




At 10:50 AM 4/19/99 +0200, you wrote:
>It seems that the people at Microchip who decide what
>PICs will cost are experiencing some indecision whether
>as to drop (make that slash) the prices or not.
>
>Just to make things easier for them, I have decided to
>post a reality check every now and then. I think they
>owe me a beer for being so helpful!

[SNIP]

{Quote hidden}

| Sean Breheny                  
| Amateur Radio Callsign: KA3YXM
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1999\04\19@203130 by Bob Drzyzgula

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On Mon, Apr 19, 1999 at 07:27:39PM -0400, Sean Breheny wrote:
> I must agree with Tjaart, Microchip has to take a good look at most of
> their prices.
>
> I used to think that PICs were the best microcontrollers in their class.
> However, I recently have been playing with SCENIX's SX18 and I may be
> looking into ATMEL's line and some of Motorola's products. I think that

More competition yet:

FWIW, I was browsing through some recent copies of EDN
(do those things really come only every two weeks?) and
I noticed a blurb about Silicon Storage Technologies
(SST) starting to enter the Flash-based 8051 market
(or expanding their product line therein? I couldn't
tell...) They'll have 20KB, 36KB and 68KB versions that
will run at 0-12MHz at 3V and 0-33MHz at 5V. There's an
unusual banking scheme for the memory that gives 4KB of 64
byte sectors and the rest in 128 byte sectors.  They have
256 bytes of RAM.  They'll ship in 40-pin PDIP, 44-pin
PLCC or PQFP packages.  They have the usual assortment of
peripherals and sell for $4.50 to $8.00 each in quantity;
volume shipments on the two smaller parts is supposed to
start in Q2.  They're at http://www.ssti.com.  Phytec --
http://www.phytec.com -- is selling eval kits for $189,
I don't know about emulators and such -- the Phytec board
has an ICE/connect-51 interface FWIW.

I suppose that's one way to sell more flash memory, put an
8051 on it.

--Bob

--
============================================================
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============================================================

1999\04\20@011531 by Tjaart van der Walt

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Darrel Johansen wrote:
>
>   Tjaart wrote:
>      >Just to make things easier for them, I have decided to
>      >post a reality check every now and then. I think they
>      >owe me a beer for being so helpful!
>
>   I wrote back:
>      >Drop by any time.  I'll be glad to buy you a beer...  :-)
>      >
>      > Darrel Johansen
>
>   Tjaart's server complained:
>      >You do not have the correct permissions to use this mail gateway.
>      >Please contact "@spam@infoKILLspamspamsms.wasp.co.za" for more information.
>      >Thank you.

Hmmm. Maybe you replied to the SMS gateway? It is restricted.

I wonder who made the thread OT. If pricing isn't of concern
to every last member on this list, then what is?

Anyway - it looks like everybody agrees on the pricing issue.
Judging from the private mail I've received, I'd say that we
will be in for a pleasant surprise soon.

As soon as we get that 50% chop, I'd be happy to sponsor all the
PIClisters (including Darrel of course) who aired their views
(whatever it was) to a few beers of their choice when they drop in.
SA beers are recommended, but you can be a snob if you want to ;)
I think Bob Blick and I would be doing bit of under-bonnet staring
for a while though (Hi Bob!) If we don't get the 50% chop, we can
go out anyway to talk strategy ;) and have few anyway!

Another very exciting part of this discussion was that it forced
me (and a few others by the looks of it) to re-evaluate their
old habits and to see how wide the options really are. It would
have taken me much longer to discover some of the parts I evaluated
if I wasn't actively trying to compare Mchip on a performance/price
basis with other vendors.

This comparison should be an on-going thing as everybody benefits
from it. We don't need to discuss other micro's in detail on the
PIClist in order to get a good idea of the bank/buck we are getting.

Another point I'd like to touch (with my #12 foot still in my mouth),
is the free development systems. The free emulators I mentioned were
given to us either because we have a running history of volume
products, or to test as beta products. Except for a programmer or two,
we did not receive these through the normal distributors (leave those
poor reps alone now), but through other channels.

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1999\04\20@091140 by Andres Tarzia

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It's true that we all want to buy PICs at a lower price. But that is
exclusively a Microchip's decision.

This is no flame, but I disagree with harassing Microchip about their
prices. They have the right to fix the prices at whatever level they think
is "correct" or "good" for them. And you have the right to buy from another
manufacturer if you think that their price level is too high.

While competition is good, I've seen companies (sometimes very good
companies) going bankrupt because they cannot compete with consistently
lower prices for similar goods. And while I like Atmel processors too, I
positively don't want Microchip going out of business because of a "price
wars". When this happens, we all lose.

Let me tell you that I don't think that Microchip is remotely near
bankruptcy, and I bet that they CAN lower their prices and still continue
working. But it is too simplistic to think that they will lower their prices
because customers demand it. There are an awesome lot of variables to take
into account when fixing prices, and customer opinions are not even near the
top of the list.

Please, don't take me bad (this is just my opinion) and don't flame me (at
least flame me with private mail).

Regards,
Andres Tarzia
Technology Consultant, SMART S.A.
e-mail: spamBeGoneatarziaspamBeGonespamsmart.com.ar

-----Original Message-----
From: Tjaart van der Walt [TakeThisOuTtjaartEraseMEspamspam_OUTWASP.CO.ZA]
Sent: Monday, April 19, 1999 05:51
To: RemoveMEPICLISTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Cheaper PICs !

[... message body deleted to save bandwidth ...]

Tjaart van der Walt
tjaartEraseMEspam.....wasp.co.za

1999\04\20@093027 by Tjaart van der Walt

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Andres Tarzia wrote:
>
> It's true that we all want to buy PICs at a lower price. But that is
> exclusively a Microchip's decision.

True.

> This is no flame, but I disagree with harassing Microchip about their
> prices. They have the right to fix the prices at whatever level they think
> is "correct" or "good" for them. And you have the right to buy from another
> manufacturer if you think that their price level is too high.

What I am doing, is to ask Mchip if they are going to fall in line
with the rest of the world, or if we have to vote with our dollars
first. It may seem like harassing to you, but I assure you it is in
Mchip's own interest to listen to the designers, because *we* put
them where they are today. We supported Mchip blindly up to now, but
now it is time for Mchip to become reasonable. Do you realise that
you are paying 100% more for the 'privilege' of using Microchip?

> Let me tell you that I don't think that Microchip is remotely near
> bankruptcy, and I bet that they CAN lower their prices and still continue
> working. But it is too simplistic to think that they will lower their prices
> because customers demand it. There are an awesome lot of variables to take
> into account when fixing prices, and customer opinions are not even near the
> top of the list.

If competitiveness is not close to the top, they should re-think
their pricing structures. (Hey, *we* can help them ;) )

> Please, don't take me bad (this is just my opinion) and don't flame me (at
> least flame me with private mail).

The last thing I'll do, is to flame you for your opinion.
(now if you were sending 'unsubscribe' messages, that
would be different ;) )

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1999\04\20@121704 by mwalsh

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Andres Tarzia wrote:

> It's true that we all want to buy PICs at a lower price. But that is
> exclusively a Microchip's decision.
> ...   But it is too simplistic to think that they will lower their prices
> because customers demand it. There are an awesome lot of variables to take
> into account when fixing prices, and customer opinions are not even near the
> top of the list.

Perhaps I don't understand the semiconductor business, but my customer's
opinions are at the top of my list when I fix prices on my products.  They
have to receive a perceived advantage from me in price, performance, and
service or they will go to my competitors.

We have started using the AVR chips in some of our new designs because
our customers expect us to be competive.  The AVR and PIC's both have
advantages and disadvantages.   But if I don't watch the bottom line, I'll
have to lock the door and go into a new business.  If Microchip won't set
competitive pricing, they'll lose their market share the same way I would
or any other company would.  It's up to them.

Mark Walsh

1999\04\20@141942 by Roland Andrag

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Tjaart, I would rather moan about the fact that there are only two
'official' microchip distributors in South Africa.  I'm sure Microchip will
go to a lot of trouble to make sure that their prices are set so that they
maximise their profit, and hopefully they get that part right.  That is how
the capitalist system works, and how it ensures healthy competition - if
Microchip had its prices rock bottom from the start, Atmel etc. may never
have released half the parts that they have. As the competition gets
stronger, Microchip will eventually be forced to drop its prices on existing
products and to come up with new (better) parts, to our benefit.  What I am
trying to say is that the situation is self-rectifying - that's the beauty
of capitalism. I Mchip is 'stealing' our money by charging 'outrageous'
prices, then someone else will step into their market at a lower price,
since there is money to be made there.

The fact that the parts are only available from Pace (Arrow Altech) and
Avnet is more worrying. Microchip is still better than Maxim for example
(who only have one distributor afaik - also Arrow).  In my opinion, both of
these companies are fairly expensive, and both are guilty of not stocking
anything that is not very popular.  They are not the ones to blame for
higher prices - Microchip is since Microchip has made these companies into
the privileged few who may sell PICs (almost like casino licenses...).  You
probably know a lot more about the distribution structure than I do, so
please correct me if I'm wrong - for all I know anyone is welcome to sell
PICs in SA, just no one else is interested.  Do these companies import
directly from Microchip? If not, can I buy from the people they buy from?
What are the criteria to import directly etc. etc.

Fair profit is fair profit, but as far as I'm concerned only Mchip and its
distributors benefit out of this exclusive club, not the customer.  It may
be more convenient for Microchip, but it results in less competition this
side of the water, which results in worse service and higher prices.

Of course if Atmel doesn't do this (I think they do though), that would be
an incentive to rather buy from them and...... guess capitalism still
applies.

Enough ranting and raving - I guess the quantities I buy just don't justify
the service I'd like...

Cheers
 Roland

1999\04\20@152614 by Quentin

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Roland Andrag wrote:
>
> Tjaart, I would rather moan about the fact that there are only two
> 'official' microchip distributors in South Africa.
<Snip rest of well put message>
Roland, there is a lot more involved than just simply getting more
people to stock MC products in SA. If you are the agent for a certain
product here, you can just about charge anything for that product,
simply because you are the agent and nobody else will sell against you.
Then, in this country you have the problem of volume. To be competitive
here, you will have to sell at a higher volume than your opposition just
to be able to offer a lower price. And the market is just not big
enough.

And another problem is: Companies see that Arrow already sell PICs and
at a great volume, so they've already captured the market, so why
compete against them? Arrow on the other hand, see they got no
competition, so they can push the price limit up a bit.

I've seen worse than Arrow though, Analogue Devices (SA) are 30% more
expensive than the USA prices.

To show these guys a thing, if you can order via the internet a product
cheaper than what it is available locally, then let the suppliers know.
A few of us did that with our hobby (R/C Gliders), we ordered from
Singapore cheaper (up to 50% cheaper for the same product) and let the
local suppliers know about it. You should have seen the price of parts
fall after that :)

Sorry, I see I am getting OT now to the rest of the list and it actually
got nothing to do with what MC charge.

Just another thorn in my side.

Quentin

1999\04\20@160530 by Roland Andrag

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Quentin:...


>Roland Andrag wrote:
>>
>> Tjaart, I would rather moan about the fact that there are only two
>> 'official' microchip distributors in South Africa.
><Snip rest of well put message>
>Roland, there is a lot more involved than just simply getting more
>people to stock MC products in SA. If you are the agent for a certain
>product here, you can just about charge anything for that product,
>simply because you are the agent and nobody else will sell against you.
>Then, in this country you have the problem of volume. To be competitive
>here, you will have to sell at a higher volume than your opposition just
>to be able to offer a lower price. And the market is just not big
>enough.
Regrettibly so...
>To show these guys a thing, if you can order via the internet a product
>cheaper than what it is available locally, then let the suppliers know.

I wish I could order Microchip products directly from them by internet... It
would probably pay for me - I would probably save quite a few R100's, even
after paying for airfreight... Point is, I can't... (and maybe it wouldn't
pay for microchip to start shipping quantities smaller that say 1000 or
whatever... I doubt that however).  Out of interest, can anyone tell me what
PICs go for in the states - take the 16C711JW and 17C44JW prices if you can
since I have them readily available..


Cheers
Roland

1999\04\20@201940 by Eric Oliver

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face
Well,

I was going to keep my mouth shut <g> .. but ..

I agree, and I almost posted something similar yesterday.  Many companies
that once held dominant positions in their market succumb to competition.
There are a variety of reasons but I think it's safe to say that all of
them relate to the company in question's failure to keep its finger on the
pulse of the industry.

Borland comes to mind here.  I belonged to several Borland related groups
and the members were constantly raking Borland over the coals for decisions
that Borland made.  Borland lost.  I can't say they lost because they
didn't listen to their users, but I personally believe that what their
users were saying were right on track.

I agree that MicroChip is free to sell their products any way they see fit,
and we are free to buy ( or not to buy ) as we see fit.

However, I don't necessarily agree with the following ( this is no flame,
merely another POV ) :

This is no flame, but I disagree with harassing Microchip about their
prices. They have the right to fix the prices at whatever level they think
is "correct" or "good" for them. And you have the right to buy from another
manufacturer if you think that their price level is too high.

While competition is good, I've seen companies (sometimes very good
companies) going bankrupt because they cannot compete with consistently
lower prices for similar goods. And while I like Atmel processors too, I
positively don't want Microchip going out of business because of a "price
wars". When this happens, we all lose.

First, I think the price discussion is constructive, not destructive.
Tjaart already made a comment that makes me believe that his constructive
criticism did not go unnoticed.  This is a good thing !  To me this means
that MicroChip does listen  ( part of keeping your finger on the pulse <g>
).

Second, I disagree with your remark on competition.  I think competition is
good in ALL situations.  If MicroChip goes under ( very unlikely ) because
they failed to change with the market, then so be it.  I didn't say
competition couldn't be painful or tumultuous, but it does work.  What I
don't agree with would be a company entering the market with deep pockets
and driving others under by buying market share. To me that's
anti-competition anyway. If MicroChip can't compete with Atmel with the
PIC, then maybe they should be developing the next generation PIC that does
( probably already are <g> ). If they don't, and they lose to Atmel, then
so be it. We will all have to live with that decision ... hence why it is
important to voice our opinion now <g>.


Let me tell you that I don't think that Microchip is remotely near
bankruptcy, and I bet that they CAN lower their prices and still continue
working. But it is too simplistic to think that they will lower their
prices
because customers demand it. There are an awesome lot of variables to take
into account when fixing prices, and customer opinions are not even near
the
top of the list.

I agree to a point.  If Company A sells their product for $1.25 and Company
B sells theirs for $1.37 and you go to Company B and say "Hey, if you want
my business, your going to have to beat Company A's price."  Company B
might say, "Sorry, we've got a great product, great service, and delivery.
Our product is worth every penny." Each customer places different value on
different things so maybe one customer will go with Company A and another
chooses company B.  Consider though, if Company A sells for $1.25 and
Company B sells for $2.75 and Company A's product is arguably better.  All
things being equal, Company B will lose if they pursue the same pricing
policy as they always have.  In the first case, your arguing pennies and
Customer B can sell on service, reputation, etc.  In the second case, the
price difference is too great to justify ( given that other pricing points
are at least relatively comparable ).

Believe me, you don't charge what it costs you to make the product ( plus
markup ), you charge what the market will bear. If you can't make your
desired margin at that price you either a) get out of the market, b) figure
out how to market your product to a sector that will support your margin,
or c) figure out how to make the product at the margin you require. Two
years ago, the market might bear $5 for a given PIC. Today that price might
be $2.50.  The simple fact is that if MicroChip is too slow to react to
those changes or chooses to ignore those changes, they will lose market
share.  How much, is their decision we can only help by voicing our
opinion.

Please understand, this is not a flame nor am I bashing MicroChip. It was
simply my opportunity to jump in <g>  I apologize for the long reply. In
fact, I almost deleted it when I say how long it was. If you got this far,
keep on PIC'n.

Eric

1999\04\21@005307 by Tjaart van der Walt

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Andres Tarzia wrote:
> I don't know what is driving the PIC prices, but as I said before, I don't
> think that we, as customers, will have a big enough impact as for forcing
> Microchip to lower prices JUST FOR OUR OPINIONS. Now, if Atmel, Motorola,
> and/or others start producing alternatives at a lower cost, that is a
> different story...

This is the whole point. I have done some research lately on
'what is out there'. Here is what I found :

On the low range parts (12CXXX) we pay around 30% more for the
ATMEL and Motorola, but then you get flash instead of OTP.

On the low to mid range parts, you pay around 15% less for
ATMEL or Motorola, but you also get flash instead of OTP.

On the mid range parts (16C7XX) we are getting ripped by 78%
more for an OTP Mchip part, as opposed to an ATMEL or Motorola
(flash again). If you compare it flash vs. flash, you pay
88% more for a Flash PIC than a flash ATMEL or Motorola.
(I used the 16F877 as basis for comparison)

On the high-end parts - hahahahaha. It doesn't even feature
in the equation. If you use 17CXXX PICs, you deserve to be
ripped off. You get more than double the features in flash
from Motorola than from the PICs at *the same price*.

If I read you last paragraph again, it seems that we agree
that there shouldn't be such a difference between competitors.

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1999\04\21@012034 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
At 07:06 04/21/99 +0200, Tjaart van der Walt wrote:
>On the high-end parts - hahahahaha. It doesn't even feature
>in the equation. If you use 17CXXX PICs, you deserve to be
>ripped off. You get more than double the features in flash
>from Motorola than from the PICs at *the same price*.
>
>If I read you last paragraph again, it seems that we agree
>that there shouldn't be such a difference between competitors.

but there is... anybody an idea why?

- microchip parts have some advantage(s) over the others which you don't
mention?

- microchip has higher production costs and simply can't go lower?

- microchip bets that enough of their customers are "followers" who for
whatever reason won't switch to another brand even if cheaper and/or better?

- microchip simply doesn't know?

- microchip sells more than they want from the bigger parts anyway, and
doesn't care about loosing some of that segment?

- ...?

ge

1999\04\21@020915 by g.daniel.invent.design

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My 5cents:
(N.Z. recalled one and two cent pieces some years ago due to inflation)

Microchip is now reaping the benefits of a decent free development S/W
package (MPLAB), ability to be able to program all 40 pin or less parts
on the Picstart +, serial ISP that is easy to write software for and pre
Atmel/Scenix leading edge 8 bit micros.

The easy to write ISP S/W means that thousands of hobby developers
raised their competance level on PIC micros and now find it hard to
change.

As a consequence, Microchip can now adjust their price upwards because
the market has many many PIC applications that would require software
rewriting , PCB revisions and minor hardware changes to take advantage
of the competition's new products.

Microchip may well have had this as a long term goal.   As to the
future, Microchip can put some of their R&D money back into new product,
but must have a clear winner to profit from this.  Compatibility with
the PICSTART+ would help for a new series, but single pin ISP like the
Dallas 1 wire system would be even better.

We've seen a lot of "possible" future product specifications, but
Microchip need to produce something really special at a good entry price
to be able to lead the performance/price market again.

In the mean time many of us are switching to Atmel, and in 2-4 years
time I expect that we will be complaining about Atmel's pricing, which
may suffer precisely the same increases as Atmel achieves a level of
dominance.

regards,
Graham Daniel.

> - microchip parts have some advantage(s) over the others which you don't
> mention?

--
Steam engines may be out of fashion, but when you consider that an
internal combustion engine would require recovery of waste heat by
transfer just before top dead centre then fashion becomes rather
redundant, USE STRATIFIED HEAT EXCHANGERS ! and external combustion.

You heard it first from: Graham Daniel, managing director of Electronic
Product Enhancements.
Phone NZ 04 387 4347, Fax NZ 04 3874348, Cellular NZ 021 954 196.

1999\04\21@024036 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
At 17:24 04/21/99 +1200, Graham Daniel wrote:
>In the mean time many of us are switching to Atmel, and in 2-4 years
>time I expect that we will be complaining about Atmel's pricing, which
>may suffer precisely the same increases as Atmel achieves a level of
>dominance.

if you're right: wouldn't it be nice, if they, through more sensible market
strategies, would keep us in a more stable market? :)

ge

1999\04\21@055840 by Stefan Sczekalla-Waldschmidt

flavicon
face
Hi,

just to compare prices, anybody out there who
will know the price for a 16C873 ??

The device I'll compare to is a AVR 90S4333.
it has on timer less but better irq structure.
30Byte ram less but 256Bytes E2ROM and needs no "banking"

The Price here in germany will be about 8.5 EURO incl. Tax.
in single quatities.

any prices already known ?

Kind regards,

       Stefan

1999\04\21@084309 by Andres Tarzia

flavicon
face
Andres Tarzia wrote:
>> I don't know what is driving the PIC prices, but as I said before, I
don't
>> think that we, as customers, will have a big enough impact as for forcing
>> Microchip to lower prices JUST FOR OUR OPINIONS. Now, if Atmel, Motorola,
>> and/or others start producing alternatives at a lower cost, that is a
>> different story...

Tjaart van der Walt wrote:
{Quote hidden}

As I said before, I also like Atmel parts and I am planning to start
experimenting with them as soon as I have some free time :)

I recognize that I have not made an extensive research, and I agree with you
that some of the MC competing parts LOOKS very good on my computer screen,
but I think that:
- You can't just compare PARTS, FEATURES and PRICES.
because:
. Does the competition have the excellent and extensive documentation that
Microchip has?
. Does the competition (either the manufacturers themselves or the
third-party industries or hobbyists) have readily available do-it-yourself
less-than-$5 programmers with free software for their parts?
. Does they give the development tools (Assemblers, Compilers...) away or do
they charge for them?
. Does the competition offer you In-Circuit-Programming?
. Do they have very-low-pin-count parts? (A lot of projects just doesn't
need 40pin monster chips)
. Does the competition offer you that many different package choices?
. Does they offer such a low consumption at the same performance level?
. Does the competition distribution channels sell you low-volume? Can you
buy just 1 or 2 parts AT THE SAME PRICE?
. Does them even STOCK the parts? That is, can you walk into a store and get
out of it with the chips in your bag? (Yes, we "have" it Sir, we'll send it
to you in 4~6 weeks...)
. Are they available world-wide? (You know, not all of us live in the
States)

Now I have to say that I am not biased on Microchip. I just happen to like
them a lot. Now if you tell me that I can get, not only the chip, but the
whole development tools, availability, etc., for a lower price, then it is
time for a change...

Thank you all for an excellent and healthy discussion here!

Regards,
Andres Tarzia
Technology Consultant, SMART S.A.
e-mail: EraseMEatarziaspamspamspamBeGonesmart.com.ar

1999\04\21@091150 by Tjaart van der Walt

flavicon
face
Andres Tarzia wrote:
>

> - You can't just compare PARTS, FEATURES and PRICES.
> because:
> . Does the competition have the excellent and extensive documentation that
> Microchip has?
> . Does the competition (either the manufacturers themselves or the
> third-party industries or hobbyists) have readily available do-it-yourself
> less-than-$5 programmers with free software for their parts?
I saw a programmer this week for the AVR with zero components.
It goes straight from your printer port into the chip. (Did I
mention you only need 5V to program an AVR?)
There is also freeware programming software.

> . Does they give the development tools (Assemblers, Compilers...) away or do
> they charge for them?
I think they have pretty much the same attitude that most
of the vedors have. If it could be worth their whiles, they'd
make a plan.

> . Does the competition offer you In-Circuit-Programming?
Yes. In circuit serial programming.

> . Do they have very-low-pin-count parts? (A lot of projects just doesn't
> need 40pin monster chips)
The AVRs were designed to have similar pin counts than the PICs.
>From the TinyAVR (8 pin, 2k flash, int osc etc), to the AT90LS8535
(targetting the 16F877 market).

> . Does the competition offer you that many different package choices?
Identical to Microchip.

> . Does they offer such a low consumption at the same performance level?
I don't know for sure. Maybe someone else does?

> . Does the competition distribution channels sell you low-volume? Can you
> buy just 1 or 2 parts AT THE SAME PRICE?
We buy them from the same people that sell PICs. No-one will give
you onesies at the price of 10000 pieces.

> . Does them even STOCK the parts? That is, can you walk into a store and get
> out of it with the chips in your bag? (Yes, we "have" it Sir, we'll send it
> to you in 4~6 weeks...)
The stocking program seems to be the same (it is them same people who
sell PICs).

> . Are they available world-wide? (You know, not all of us live in the
> States)
Hey! Neither do I! We can get hold of them here at the southern tip
of Africa with no problem.

> Now I have to say that I am not biased on Microchip. I just happen to like
> them a lot. Now if you tell me that I can get, not only the chip, but the
> whole development tools, availability, etc., for a lower price, then it is
> time for a change...
I haven't yet discovered all the tools. There is a freeware development
IDE similar to MPLAB, but I haven't tried it yet. I *have* seen the E-Lab
environment however, and I love it! It is abolutely incredible. It is
a whole IDE with application wizards, compilers etc.

To get started on a project, you tell the wizard what will be in it, and
it creates C-code for you to build on. It draws in the correct libraries,
initialises the variables, the whole lot. To use an analogue input, LCD,
serial comms etc, will take you less than hour to get going. You can even
choose whether you want threaded tasks or not. It costs around US$400.

> Thank you all for an excellent and healthy discussion here!
I share that sentiment.  

--
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1999\04\21@091937 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
Graham Daniel wrote:
[snip]
> In the mean time many of us are switching to Atmel, and in 2-4 years
> time I expect that we will be complaining about Atmel's pricing, which
> may suffer precisely the same increases as Atmel achieves a level of
> dominance.

...does anybody has any idea about what is the 8 bits mcu's market share
for Microchip, Atmel, Philips and Motorola?  You'd surprised.  Motorola
for example doesn't has a direct replacement for their mcu's in the
competition, the same for Atmel AVR... with a captive market not focused
on hobbyists, they have their prices down because they bet on large
quantities.  Recently at the "Electronic Buyer News" I saw a market
share for mcu's, I will not tell you "who was not even in the ranking"
because it would be from memory without magazine number and page for
confirmation.  I will try to find it out.

So, the word "dominance" here needs to be defined if it is related to a
specific captive market, or ruled by a real industrial large consume.

For example the Intel 80x86 mpu's. Every time a new processor is
released it cost the eyes of the face, months later you can buy it
almost by the same price of its predecessor, why?, just because the
"captive hungry market" is able and willing to pay "any price" to have
it.  The selling chain just want to make the maximum possible profit
ripping off exaggerated hungry customers, then later they exercise a
"more real" market price, so a lot more customers can have access to it.

Would you buy a 450 MHz pentium III for your kids right now? Not a
chance, right? You can say, "In one year the Pentium 660 MHz would be
available so I would buy the 450 that would be cheap".  I don't think
that the 660 would be the big responsible for the 450 prices drop.
There are always who would pay more, so lets sell first for them at high
prices, and then get it down slowly and keep selling, and so on, until
in one year the price is right... :) Prices go down naturally according
to the market saturation (except at the software industry, and Bill
Gates worked it out perfectly) because what? lack of competition?

Somehow this is natural, "front row seats cost more", but remember, it
shouldn't cost the same after 3 years of the same exhibition, because
everybody would be at another theater...

Wagner
http://www.ustr.net

1999\04\21@104619 by mwalsh

flavicon
face
Eric Oliver wrote:

> Believe me, you don't charge what it costs you to make the product ( plus
> markup ), you charge what the market will bear. If you can't make your
> desired margin at that price you either a) get out of the market, b) figure
> out how to market your product to a sector that will support your margin,
> or c) figure out how to make the product at the margin you require.

Exactly

We make an analog sensor that costs us about $6.00 in parts and labor.
We originally charged about $38 for it, but we couldn't keep up with
the demand.  Now we get $50 for it.

Another product we make costs us about $4.50 to build and $8.00
is the upper limit we can charge for it.  I would like to discontinue it,
but we make it for one of our better customers.  What they want
they generally get.

Our sensor originally competed with a $20 product that cost the
customer $150 - $200 to install.  Ours simply bolts on.  Realistic
pricing has to be based on the value received by the customer,
not on the costs to make it.  The competition is producing similar
sensors now, but I haven't seen anyone cutting prices much yet.
It will come though and I'll either adjust by lowering my prices
or bring out a redesign I've done redesign that adds more value
for the customer or both.

I love competition.  It keeps me from getting stale.

Mark Walsh

1999\04\21@224835 by Peter Tran

flavicon
face
Can you tell me where I can look for the freeware development
IDE for AVR? Thx.
----- Original Message -----
From: Tjaart van der Walt <spamBeGonetjaartSTOPspamspamEraseMEWASP.CO.ZA>
To: <KILLspamPICLISTspamBeGonespamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 1999 6:25 AM
Subject: Re: Cheaper PICs !


Andres Tarzia wrote:
>

> - You can't just compare PARTS, FEATURES and PRICES.
> because:
> . Does the competition have the excellent and extensive documentation that
> Microchip has?
> . Does the competition (either the manufacturers themselves or the
> third-party industries or hobbyists) have readily available do-it-yourself
> less-than-$5 programmers with free software for their parts?
I saw a programmer this week for the AVR with zero components.
It goes straight from your printer port into the chip. (Did I
mention you only need 5V to program an AVR?)
There is also freeware programming software.

> . Does they give the development tools (Assemblers, Compilers...) away or
do
> they charge for them?
I think they have pretty much the same attitude that most
of the vedors have. If it could be worth their whiles, they'd
make a plan.

> . Does the competition offer you In-Circuit-Programming?
Yes. In circuit serial programming.

> . Do they have very-low-pin-count parts? (A lot of projects just doesn't
> need 40pin monster chips)
The AVRs were designed to have similar pin counts than the PICs.
>From the TinyAVR (8 pin, 2k flash, int osc etc), to the AT90LS8535
(targetting the 16F877 market).

> . Does the competition offer you that many different package choices?
Identical to Microchip.

> . Does they offer such a low consumption at the same performance level?
I don't know for sure. Maybe someone else does?

> . Does the competition distribution channels sell you low-volume? Can you
> buy just 1 or 2 parts AT THE SAME PRICE?
We buy them from the same people that sell PICs. No-one will give
you onesies at the price of 10000 pieces.

> . Does them even STOCK the parts? That is, can you walk into a store and g
et
> out of it with the chips in your bag? (Yes, we "have" it Sir, we'll send
it
> to you in 4~6 weeks...)
The stocking program seems to be the same (it is them same people who
sell PICs).

> . Are they available world-wide? (You know, not all of us live in the
> States)
Hey! Neither do I! We can get hold of them here at the southern tip
of Africa with no problem.

> Now I have to say that I am not biased on Microchip. I just happen to like
> them a lot. Now if you tell me that I can get, not only the chip, but the
> whole development tools, availability, etc., for a lower price, then it is
> time for a change...
I haven't yet discovered all the tools. There is a freeware development
IDE similar to MPLAB, but I haven't tried it yet. I *have* seen the E-Lab
environment however, and I love it! It is abolutely incredible. It is
a whole IDE with application wizards, compilers etc.

To get started on a project, you tell the wizard what will be in it, and
it creates C-code for you to build on. It draws in the correct libraries,
initialises the variables, the whole lot. To use an analogue input, LCD,
serial comms etc, will take you less than hour to get going. You can even
choose whether you want threaded tasks or not. It costs around US$400.

> Thank you all for an excellent and healthy discussion here!
I share that sentiment.

--
Friendly Regards          /"\
                         \ /
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1999\04\21@225248 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
> Can you tell me where I can look for the freeware development
> IDE for AVR? Thx.


http://www.atmel.com, products, avr, software

There is at least one freeware programmer, but it means connecting your
paralell port directly to your prototype, so I don't use it.  The AVR
development board is a workable programmer, that costs $50.

1999\04\22@005328 by g.daniel.invent.design

flavicon
face
Wagner Lipnharski wrote:
<cut>
> Prices go down naturally according
> to the market saturation (except at the software industry, and Bill
> Gates worked it out perfectly) because what? lack of competition?
>
> Somehow this is natural, "front row seats cost more", but remember, it
> shouldn't cost the same after 3 years of the same exhibition, because
> everybody would be at another theater...
>
> Wagner
> http://www.ustr.net

"Shouldn't cost" and "dosen't cost" more are the difference here,
Microchip have trained the market and some programmer's unwillingness to
learn new assembler mnemonics etc will keep that market operating at
good profit margins (for Microchip) for some time yet.

On a slightly differant note, has anyone noticed how I.C. manufacturers
show market share and growth graphs only when they are doing well and
even then, only for the positive growth years ?

regards,
Graham.
--
Steam engines may be out of fashion, but when you consider that an
internal combustion engine would require recovery of waste heat by
transfer just before top dead centre then fashion becomes rather
redundant, USE STRATIFIED HEAT EXCHANGERS ! and external combustion.

You heard it first from: Graham Daniel, managing director of Electronic
Product Enhancements.
Phone NZ 04 387 4347, Fax NZ 04 3874348, Cellular NZ 021 954 196.

1999\04\22@074919 by Russell McMahon

picon face
>> . Does they offer such a low consumption at the same performance
level?
>I don't know for sure. Maybe someone else does?

I think I saw AVR this week advertising "lowest ma per MIPS" which
seems to be a fair way of measuring this parameter, always providing
that your MIPs are comparable (which they easily are here).

1999\04\22@080141 by Tjaart van der Walt

flavicon
face
Russell McMahon wrote:
>
> >> . Does they offer such a low consumption at the same performance
> level?
> >I don't know for sure. Maybe someone else does?
>
> I think I saw AVR this week advertising "lowest ma per MIPS" which
> seems to be a fair way of measuring this parameter, always providing
> that your MIPs are comparable (which they easily are here).

I just had a peek at the data sheet, and it seems that the
90LS8535 uses around 5mA at 4MIPS. 4MIPS in PIC terms is 20MHz.
The 16C77 uses between 10mA and 20mA at 20MHz.

I wonder when we will hear about the Mchip price adjustment.
Do you think the Mchip investors read the PIClist? I wonder how
one could get the facts accross to them....

--
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1999\04\22@092607 by mwalsh

flavicon
face
Russell McMahon wrote:

> >> . Does they offer such a low consumption at the same performance
> level?
> >I don't know for sure. Maybe someone else does?
>
> I think I saw AVR this week advertising "lowest ma per MIPS" which
> seems to be a fair way of measuring this parameter, always providing
> that your MIPs are comparable (which they easily are here).

You need to be careful about extrapolating the AVR current belowabout 1
MHz.  It seems to bottom out there.  If you need very low
current and can get the performance you need with a 32 kHz clock,
the PIC is the way to go.

Mark Walsh

1999\04\22@181903 by Alessandro Zummo

flavicon
face
Il 21-Apr-99, Gerhard Fiedler scrisse:

> - microchip bets that enough of their customers are "followers" who for
> whatever reason won't switch to another brand even if cheaper and/or
> better?

That's the same philosophy that Commodore/Amiga followed
a few years ago.. we all know the story :-/


--

  - *Alex* -

 http://freepage.logicom.it/azummo/


'Cheaper PICs !'
1999\05\17@033448 by Hans Blichfeldt
flavicon
face
Arrow Australia seems OK for us, but if you find your local representatives
too expensive then get your stuff from HongKong or China. Capitalism is
international to day .....

Best regards,
Hans


At 08:09 PM 20/04/1999 +0200, you wrote:
>Tjaart, I would rather moan about the fact that there are only two
>'official' microchip distributors in South Africa.  I'm sure Microchip will
>go to a lot of trouble to make sure that their prices are set so that they
>
--- snip
--- snip
>Enough ranting and raving - I guess the quantities I buy just don't justify
>the service I'd like...
>
>Cheers
>  Roland
>
>
--
Temperature Technology
263 Gilbert Street
ADELAIDE  SA  5000

web page:       http://dove.net.au/~ttec
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