LONDON – The Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) industry body has said it is concerned over the withdrawal of chip companies Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) program. The GSA (Dallas, Texas) added that it is considering whether it has role to play in maintaining the availability of this type of data.
Both Intel and AMD confirmed recently that they had opted out of the WSTS program which pools chip sales data from more than 50 chip vendors on a monthly basis. WSTS has said that its participating members represent some 75 percent of global sales and provided global aggregate data on a by-sector and total basis by multiplying up. However as Intel is alone responsible for about one sixth of global chip sales its departure diminishes the representative nature of WSTS considerably.
Concerns have been raised that other companies may pull out if they feel that participation becomes of reduced value without the presence of Intel and AMD, or that they their individual sales in a given sector can be too easily identified. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) recently announced that SICAS, a quarterly semiconductor manufacturing capacity report, is going to cease completely after Taiwanese companies withdrew last year.
"The GSA is concerned that – without an industry body collecting information from semiconductor companies – there may be a loss of transparency that will alter the ability of these companies to navigate their industry. We are also concerned about what kind of data would replace what has been historically collected by WSTS," the GSA said in a comment. The comment continued: "We are currently evaluating what role – if any – GSA has to play in the collection and consolidation of this type of industry data."
The GSA is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 as the Fabless Semiconductor Association. It has traditionally looked after the interests of foundries and fabless chip companies but changed its name in 2007 to reflect its broader and global nature. The GSA claims it represents small, medium and very large semiconductor companies and their ecosystem partners in 30 countries.
"We are also highly respectful of the intense competitiveness of this industry and never ask companies to compromise their competitive position to be part of GSA or its process," the organization said.
The global nature of GSA distinguishes it from regional industry bodies such as the SIA, the European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA), Korea Semiconductor Industry Association (KSIA) and so on. The SIA is a U.S. organization that represents the interests of U.S. chip companies in Washington and which has become a de facto world body by virtue of Silicon Valley's role as the cradle of the semiconductor industry.
If the major players pull out of the alliance, what motivation do the smaller players have to provide their proprietary data? Perhaps only those entities that provide data should have access to the results.