Globalfoundries' fab future remains under the microscope
While Monocha told EE Times that Globalfoundries’ Malta, N.Y., plant is ramping, there is still some speculation about the stability of the fab’s future. For example, the question remains whether Globalfoundries will be able to recover lost credibility with its customers and attract tier 1 fabless companies for its 28- or 20-nm process nodes.
Last but not least, there is also a question mark over the foundry’s relationship with its closest partner and parent company, AMD. With the apparent cancellation by AMD of 28-nm products at Globalfoundries and no plans to move GPUs away from TSMC anytime soon, some analysts are publicly wondering how long the relationship can continue after so much strain.
While it is already known that AMD will manufacture the successor to Llano, Trinity, on 32-nm SOI at Globalfoundries Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany, the more distant future is harder to predict.
With no public updates on the status of its wafer supply agreement for 2012, industry speculation is rampant that AMD will move production away from its spin-off foundry to an all-TSMC approach post-32 nm.
Given that GLobalfoundries profitability has not been helped by the restrictive supply agreement put in place in 2011 (based on good die pricing) one has to wonder if this divorce will best serve both companies.
While AMD struggles for relevance in an increasingly complex silicon landscape, Globalfoundries, too, faces a real test on whether a post-AMD world unlocks its ability to deliver on the vision of “the first truly global foundry,” launched way back in 2009. Only time will tell.