Is IBM moving to fab-lite, research heavy?
11/24/2010 7:26 AM EST
Johnson puts the 2011 global semiconductor capex at about $51.1 billion, about 5 percent down on a spend of $53.9 billion in 2010.
It is noticeable that semiconductor test and assembly houses such as Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Amkor and Siliconware appear higher on the list than IBM.
As Johnson said the key to semiconductor manufacturing going forward is that "You are either involved in memory, in foundry or you are Intel." Johnson added that even Intel is getting involved in foundry through its deal with Achronix.
Although 2011 capex could be reduced from the current plans if oversupply situation materializes in the second half of 2011.
The synchronization of manufacturing processes by IBM, GlobalFoundries and Samsung provides second-sourcing opportunities. In Malta, New York, 90-minutes away from IBM's wafer fab complex at East Fishkill, GlobalFoundries is building Fab 8, a 300,000 square foot clean room fab that should be capable of 80,000 wafer starts per month. It is also noticeable that Samsung is building a wafer fab in Austin, Texas, that is expected to be dedicated to foundry work.
"GlobalFoundries and Samsung will be strong competitors to TSMC at the leading edge," said Johnson.
"IBM is not investing heavily in manufacturing. It plays the research leader role," said Johnson. "It looks like fab-lite with a research emphasis. Bernie Meyerson would never give up the research," he added.