LONDON – Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, Calif.), the world's largest fabless chip company, has not ruled out owning a wafer fab or putting large amounts of cash down to ensure the firm's supply of semiconductor chips, according to a Bloomberg report.
Qualcomm has suffered a shortage of 28-nm Snapdragon processors from its foundry partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) and has said this lack of supply will constrain earnings growth in the second and third quarters of the year.
Qualcomm is considering its manufacturing options and would consider "writing big checks" to chip suppliers, the report quoted Jacobs as saying during a briefing in San Diego. Jacobs added that Qualcomm would prefer to remain fabless and not build its own wafer fabs, but that if it was advantageous to own the means of production in the future Qualcomm could do it, the report said.
"It's not something that's high on our list of things that we want to do. But I wouldn't rule it out completely," the report quoted Jacobs as saying.
In April when the TSMC shortage was revealed Qualcomm said it was turning to other foundry suppliers and more recently it has been reported that Jacobs has visited Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to discuss the possibility of Samsung making chips for Qualcomm. Intel has also been suggested as a possible foundry for Qualcomm. However, the fact that Intel and Samsung both compete with Qualcomm in the supply of processors for smartphones and tablet computers, would count against them becoming suppliers.
The 28-nm chip supply situation is easing but some Qualcomm customers may have to delay smartphone product launches, the report quoted Jacobs as saying. Related links and articles:
Qualcomm engages other foundries amid 28-nm capacity shortage
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Intel says 25% of shipments will be on 22-nm in Q2
Qualcomm moves to No. 5 in chip sales