SAN JOSE, Calif.—Morris Chang, chairman and CEO of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), acknowledged Tuesday (April 17) that the foundry giant has experienced issues at the 28-nm node, but said the problems were related to capacity, not yield.
Chang told an audience at TSMC's annual technology symposium that TSMC's 28-nm yields have from the beginning been in line with the firm's projections.
"Yes, we had some difficulties with 28-nm, but those difficulties had to do with not having enough capacity, not yields," Chang said.
Chang acknowledged that TSMC has been dogged by persistent rumors about its 28-nm yields. In January, Mike Bryant, a technology analyst with Future Horizons Ltd. said TSMC was in trouble with its 28-nm technology, saying the processes were not yielding well. Last month, unsubstantiated rumors circulated that TSMC had shut down its 28-nm production in February. At the time, a TSMC spokeswoman declined to comment, citing company policy against commenting on rumors, but added that the firm's 28-nm process was "normal."
Chang said TSMC's investments in capacity expansion for 28-nm production have helped the firm alleviate the 28-nm capacity crunch. He noted that TSMC planned to invest more than $7 billion in capital expenditures in 2012, up from about $7 billion in 2011, $5 billion in 2010 and $2 billion in 2009.
"With capacity coming online, I do believe the worst is behind us," Chang said.
Taiwanese IT publication Digitimes said in a report Tuesday that two stalwart TSMC customers, Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp., approached other foundries about producing 28-nm chips for them because of tight 28-nm capacity at TSMC. The report cited unnamed sources at semiconductor tool makers.