LONDON Ė Microprocessor vendor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has decided to cancel APUs that Globalfoundries Inc. was set to make for it on 28-nm process technology, according to online reports.
Instead AMD (Sunnyvale, Calif.) will start afresh using the 28-nm gate-last high-k metal-gate manufacturing process technology from alternative foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan), the reports said.
It is speculated that the reason for the move is that the 28-nm process at Globalfoundries (Milpitas, Calif.) will only be ready for volume production in mid-2012, which would give the planned processors only six months in the market. An alternative view is that low-yields on the 28-nm process have been at the root of failed negotiations on the manufacturing contract.
If true, the move would be a major blow to Globalfoundries, which was originally created by the spinning off of AMD manufacturing facilities. The plan was to use AMD has an "anchor" customer while ramping up a number of others in foundry mode.
However, AMD has been moving its manufacturing towards TSMC for some time. A change of management at Globalfoundries, implemented in the summer, was said to be related to problems with 32-nm chip yield which had also led to a rewritten supply contract so that AMD only paid for good die.
The risk to Globalfoundries is that it could lose its main customer before it has attracted enough other customers to fill its fabs. Meanwhile TSMC, the world's largest foundry, is a strong competitor, and high volume chipmaker Samsung is also seeking to get into the foundry business and all this at a time when most industry watchers are predicting 2012 to be low-growth year for the chip industry.
Related links and articles:
TSMC: 28-nm technology, demand 'on plan'
Foundries have 28-nm yield issues, say execs
Analyst: Yield drove Globalfoundries change
Why did AMD-GF ink new wafer deal?
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