SAN FRANCISCO—Intel will build ICs and SoCs for Microsemi using its 22-nm FinFET process, Microsemi said Wednesday (May 1).
The foundry deal, signed in January, has allowed Microsemi to engage with customers and begin designs utilizing Intel's 22-nm process technology with product delivery expected to begin in late 2014 or early 2015, Microsemi (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) said.
Microsemi—which offers a broad range of chips for communications, defense, aerospace and industrial markets—becomes Intel's fifth publicly disclosed foundry customer, joining network processor provider Netronome and FPGA vendors Altera, Achronix and Tabula.
Intel reportedly has several more undisclosed foundry customers. Unconfirmed reports have said Intel could be making 22-nm ASICs for Cisco. Others said the PC chip giant may be working on a deal to make mobile processors for Apple, which is trying to reduce its foundry dependence on archrival Samsung.
Intel is not generally believed to be interested in becoming a broad provider of foundry services. Len Jelinek, a chief analyst at IHS iSuppli, told EE Times in February that Intel's foundry strategy is to select a few high volume customers provide Intel with an additional revenue stream to help offset the cost of its advanced manufacturing capability.
Intel President and CEO said during the company's first quarter earnings call that the Intel's business model for foundry is to go after customers that can most benefit from the company's industry-leading process technology and are prepared to pay for it. Areas such as communications processors and programmable logic are prime examples of products that can benefit greatly from the most advanced technology available.
"The business model that we have for the foundry assumes value based pricing," Otellini said. "The people that we are soliciting and people that are attracted to us are those who see the advantages of our technology as it manifests itself in their products and gives them an advantage in the marketplace. So it’s a healthy business for us."
Paul Pickle, executive vice president of Microsemi's Integrated Circuits group, said through a statement that the high-value applications Microsemi addresses require chips with unique performance and complex functional attributes.
"Using Intel's innovative process technology and silicon-proven IP will enable us to expand our opportunity in the markets we serve with higher-performance, lower-power digital ICs for the communications and defense markets," Pickle said.
Intel's FinFET technology—called 3-D tri-gate transistors by Intel—is said to offer very high power efficiency and performance.
Intel also said during its first quarter earnings call that it shipped its first silicon to a foundry customer during the first quarter.