SAN FRANCISCOSpeculation is building about a planned news conference Monday (March 2) in Santa Clara, Calif., where Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) are set to make a strategic announcement.
Knowledge that the world's top chipmaker and No. 1 foundry are coming together on something is bound to stir the pot.
What will the companies announce? Representatives from Intel aren't saying, but rumors are circulating. According to the Wall Street Journal, TSMC could make Intel's Atom processor on a foundry basis for the chip giant. That article can be read here.
According to DigiTimes, the deal could involve Intel's graphics chips or next-generation Clarkdale product, which integrates a CPU and graphics IC on the same device. That article can be read here.
An artilce in Baron's speculates that Intel and TSMC could be talking about a foundry deal in NAND flash.
Earlier this week, Electronics Weekly reported that Intel CEO Paul Otellini hinted that the company could adopt a foundry model for NAND.
Rick Tsai, TSMC's CEO, is scheduled to speak at the event.
Anand Chandrashekar, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, is another of the listed speakers for the event, stirring speculation that the announcement could be related to Intel's Atom processor. Atom is the low-cost processor that powers most netbooks.
Intel is among the last of the true integrated device manufacturers and considers manufacturing among its core competencies. As the cost of chip manufacturing has skyrocketed, many peers have migrated to fabless or fab-lite strategies.
In the past, some Intel acquisitions have used foundries and some Intel chipsets were also made by foundries. But the company has never turned to a foundry for any of its processors.
Intel earlier this month pledged to invest $7 billion in U.S. fabs over the next two years.