Don't look now but LSI Logic Corp. appears to be accelerating its "fab lite" strategy. For years, LSI Logic has been quietly shifting more and more of its chip production to the silicon foundries.
And now, the ASIC provider is apparently working with a new and surprising foundry vendor: China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC). The Shanghai-based company is making undisclosed chips for the U.S.-based ASIC provider.
LSI Logic also has foundry deals with Silterra, TSMC, UMC and Rohm.
On Wednesday, LSI Logic cut 510 positions, approximately 11 percent of its workforce, and took a $383 million impairment charge for its Oregon fab. Charges in both the third and fourth quarter relate to LSI's 8-inch in Gresham, Ore. In total, the company will take $383 million in non-cash asset impairment charges related to the factory.
LSI Logic officials insisted that the company is not shutting down the fab. Instead, the company is taking an accounting charge that relates to "when the book value exceeds the cash flow" for the fab (see Oct. 27 story).
Still, the question remains: When will LSI Logic go fabless?