What's this? Was Globalfoundries behind "Project Azalea," codename for a huge chip foundry, all along? Or has that shoe yet to fall with another announcement in the near future that would boost the technology momentum of New York State?
I did speculate a few weeks ago that if a semiconductor company was behind Project Azalea and its plan to build a multi-billion foundry in the U.S. --most likely in New York – then the sponsor could only be one of very few players. It looked then like the evidence was to pointing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
Did I neglect to consider that one of the two foundry chip companies already located in New York could be doing global due diligence as part of an expansion?
Globalfoundries has announced it plans to spend nearly $2 billion setting up a Technology Development Center for R&D on its wafer fab campus at the Luther Forest Technology Center in Saratoga County and will employ an additional 1,000 people by the end of 2014, bringing its total there to 3,000.
The (nearly) multibillion spend and 1,000 jobs created certainly points to something along the lines of the reported Project Azalea. Those reports had consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. assisting an unnamed company find a location for a 3.2-million-square-foot facility. It also fits with the timeline of Project Azalea, which is expected to finalize location very soon so that work could begin later this year.
The only thing that counts against Globalfoundries being behind the project is that reports circulating in early November mentioned a production facility.
On the other hand, Globalfoundries' Technology Development Center could possibly be used in mask making for advanced processes, and these things often get lost in the Chinese whispering that goes on (pun intended).
TSMC has already fessed up to looking for a U.S. wafer fab location – reportedly. And a quick chat with contacts at Globalfoundries reveals that they know very little about azaleas -- chip project, flowers or otherwise.
So it would seem that New York largesse is not only set to help Globalfoundries create an additional 1,000 jobs by expanding on its Fab 8 campus, but could yet attract an additional wafer fab to the Empire State and create an additional 1,000 high-tech jobs.
Regardless of who is behind Project Azalea, it's the jobs that matter in the final analysis.
Related links and articles:
Globalfoundries plans New York R&D center
Report: TSMC confirms U.S. wafer fab site hunt
London Calling: TSMC next for New York fab?