SANTA CLARA, Calif.óDespite a sudden and disturbing lull in the IC market, GlobalFoundries Inc. is moving full speed ahead with its aggressive silicon foundry strategy.
At its inaugural technology event here, GlobalFoundries also fired a warning shot and put its competitors on notice, namely TSMC, UMC and others. Upstart GlobalFoundries is seeking to move up the foundry ranks sooner than later, by planning to double its 300-mm capacity over the next two years, entering new markets like MEMS and analog, and accelerating its leading-edge process development efforts.
As part of those efforts, the company disclosed plans to devise a 20-nm process and rolled out a new, high-end 28-nm offering. It also announced an intellectual property (IP) deal with ARM Holdings plc and said it is developing technology to enable 3-D chips based on through-silicon-vias (TSVs).
Like its rivals, GlobalFoundries' capacity is tightóand business remains strongódespite a sudden slowdown in select chip markets. The PC market is seeing a slowdown, impacting many foundry customers like AMD, Nvidia, among others. Intel, Micron and others are impacted as well.
However, business is still "very strong," said Doug Grose, chief executive of privately-held GlobalFoundries, in a brief interview with EE Times, at the company's technology here. "I think it will be strong in 2011."
GlobalFoundries appears to be moving in the right direction. Jim Feldhan, president of Semico Research Corp., said he is impressed with GlobalFoundries' early efforts since its inception last year. "They have a very aggressive roadmap," he said, "but now have to execute" to overtake some of the competition.
Execution is a key for GlobalFoundries. While the company has the pieces in place to become a contender, it must make good on its ambitious promises, integrate a recent and huge acquisition, and remain nimble in the competitive foundry front.
In 2009, the chip-manufacturing arm from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) was spun off into a new foundry company. The foundry spinoff, GlobalFoundries, is a joint venture between AMD and Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC).
ATIC plans to boost its stake in GlobalFoundries from about 68 percent to 70 percent. Over time, ATIC will take the entire stake in GlobalFoundries from AMD.
In September, ATIC agreed to acquire Singapore-based Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. for a total of $3.9 billion. Chartered is being folded into GlobalFoundries.
I like the fact that Global Foundries is trying to change the foundry world... it is good for our industry since it will cause their competitors to innovate too.
But its an execution nightmare. See what they have on their table: 45nm SOI, 40nm bulk, 32nm SOI, 28nm bulk, 22nm (SOI?), 20nm bulk, and a major part of these in three flavours: high performance, low-power and high-performance plus. Adding to this, they are trying to develop MEMS, NVM, analog, etc.
When people are struggling to get one 40nm technology up and running with good yield, these guys are being too ambitious! I wish them luck, but if I were the CEO there, would keep the company focused on a few things and do these things well.
@mark.lapedus: to answer your question, they have a good chance to make it considering that the theme today was collaboration with partners like the news today with ARM that they taped out a dual core ARM cortex A9 in 28nm (http://www.tradingmarkets.com/news/press-release/armh_globalfoundries-launches-industry-s-first-28nm-arm-cortex-a9-processor-platform-with-gate-first-high-1145834.html). They also will develop Flash technology with Freescale, also announced today. The 28nm 'Gate first' HKMG technology will deliver 10-20% improved die size and cost over gate last, and allows true scaling 100% density increase over 40nm. Given that they are building capacity, have resources, lined up partners, are fully behind 3D TSV, are on their way to have test chips in 2H2011 in 20nm, it looks like they have the right plan and they can make it if they execute.
Good news, their 20nm process could offer the best bet for companies other than intel to remain competitive in the market without depending too much on TSMC. But this foundry consolidation is imminent. Samsung will not be holding on to their fabs for too long either.
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