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    Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Some semiconductor companies such as Broadcom and Microsemi do not publish the datasheets of some of their chips such as networking ones. It seems the companies do not provide the datasheets without an NDA. On the other hand, as far as I know the prerequisite for an NDA is an order for buying a high volume of chips (is it ture??)

    So my questions are:

    1- While some of the chips can be bought from electronic distributors, why do the companies not provide the datasheets?! What is the reason behind not publicly publishing the datasheets?

    2- If I need a low volume of the chips, what should I do to access the datasheets?

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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    It attempts to prevent competitors from accessing the information.


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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    In answer to your second question you will have to contact the company directly and explain your situation, find from there website the company rep (not distributor) for your region. Ensure you use your company name in your Email and some indication of volumes and production start dates.


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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    On the other hand, as far as I know the prerequisite for an NDA is an order for buying a high volume of chips (is it ture??)
    Maybe not the commitment to buy, but at least the ability to demonstrate to be a potential large scale customer. In a company for which I worked long ago, which had the intent to extend their production, the core of the product was based on a Korean chipset, and the access to technical information from the manufacturer was always surrounded by a huge bureaucracy.
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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    NDAs have nothing to do with volume and everything to
    do with IP protection and information leakage control.
    The company may be marketing in advance of patents
    being filed or awarded, and a NDA means "disclosed in
    confidence" rather than "offered for sale".

    Requiring you to make contact in order to get a
    datasheet can also be a "cattle chute" for the sales &
    marketing organization; "know your customer" is hard
    when everybody's dumpster diving and nobody knocks
    on the front door.

    I've been on chp developments where we published
    rounds of preliminary datasheets as details became
    "frozen", and all required NDA until production release
    gate (one element of which is the production data
    sheet signed off).


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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Quote Originally Posted by dick_freebird View Post
    NDAs have nothing to do with volume and everything to
    do with IP protection and information leakage control.
    Whilst I agree with your sentiment no company rep is going to waste time on someone with no commercial intent.


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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    As chip or chipsets become more complex and a whole system themselves, I see more and more companies doing similar actions.

    As others have stated, IP protection may be their primary goal.
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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Hi,

    Whilst I agree with your sentiment no company rep is going to waste time on someone with no commercial intent.
    I never had a problem with a company and the NDA even for very low volume (1...50 pcs) industrial development.

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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Thank you all guys for your useful information.

    Quote Originally Posted by KlausST View Post
    Hi,

    I never had a problem with a company and the NDA even for very low volume (1...50 pcs) industrial development.

    Klaus
    Which companies?


    Does anyone know Broadcom policies regarding NDAs and Datasheets?



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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Quote Originally Posted by zakhar View Post
    Does anyone know Broadcom policies regarding NDAs and Datasheets?
    You have unfortunately chosen one of the most customer unfriendly companies I have ever encountered! My advice to you is what I came to practice and that is ignore there SOC products and go elsewhere to a more customer orientated atmosphere. So much hassle just to get basic data, imagine what happens when you need help as there is a problem in there SOC, in summary bad company best avoided except for very simple devices such as Optocouplers etc!



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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Quote Originally Posted by fourtytwo View Post
    You have unfortunately chosen one of the most customer unfriendly companies I have ever encountered! My advice to you is what I came to practice and that is ignore there SOC products and go elsewhere to a more customer orientated atmosphere. So much hassle just to get basic data, imagine what happens when you need help as there is a problem in there SOC, in summary bad company best avoided except for very simple devices such as Optocouplers etc!
    Broadcom prefers to sell to large customers, so yeah, they are not friendly to fourtytwo or zakhar or me or other individual. Unless you are buying in quantity on a daily/weekly/monthly basis for the entire production run of your product they have little incentive to have their AE's wasting time with singleton customers who will only buy 1-10 parts at a time.

    Given that so many of the posters here ask questions that are in a datasheet, that would force Broadcom to hire 10x more AEs to field all the questions. All of that expense is pure overhead (i.e. thrown away profit).

    Of all the places I've worked only one had the volumes to use a Broadcom part and they have good documentation from what I saw (didn't use the part myself, but did see the datasheet). They also have very helpful AE support. For all I know things have changed since then as this was nearly 10+ years ago.



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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Quote Originally Posted by ads-ee View Post
    Broadcom prefers to sell to large customers, so yeah, they are not friendly to fourtytwo or zakhar or me or other individual.
    They will also not do business with anybody with usages less then ~25Kpa as I discovered when evaluating there products for use in a radio communications base station on behalf of a reasonably successful company I worked for at the time. I have also met engineers with similar problems in other companies so I am not talking about private individual experiences. Obviously nobody in there right mind as a private individual would go anywhere near them! OTH in a long working life I am well used to NDA's as I often used to work close to the bleeding edge and I cannot recall any other company with such a bad attitude as Broadcom.



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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Quote Originally Posted by fourtytwo View Post
    They will also not do business with anybody with usages less then ~25Kpa as I discovered when evaluating there products for use in a radio communications base station on behalf of a reasonably successful company I worked for at the time.
    Well that isn't even close to the numbers that most cell phone manufacture's use... I don't think it has much to do with how successful a company is as it does about the volumes to make it "worth their time".


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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    You mean if I buy chips from a distributor, I can't get the datasheets? I must buy the chips directly from the company?

    Now that you say Broadcom is a customer unfriendly company, which companies do you suggest for networking products such as Ethernet switching or GPON modems?



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    Re: Why do semiconductor companies not provide their datasheets publicly?

    Have you tried the distributor sites, or is this a direct-only
    product? Many distributors have cached datasheets. Many
    companies send all "small fry" to distribution, although you
    find a few (like TI, Analog Devices) who will let you order
    parts off their own web site (still, MOQ may apply - I tend
    to only buy eval boards direct).



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