This has been the stratergy adobpted by many semiconductor biggies. TI sold some of its fab (they retained analog fabs) and went for TSMC. If this helps companies to cut down expenses, nothing wrong in this.
I am tired of everybody saying that fabs are consolidating because capital equipment prices are skyrocketing. Has anyone thought that they might be confusing cause-and-effect at least a little bit. For the capital equipment makers, the cost of producing better-and-better performing systems has not gone down. Yet there are increasingly fewer customers out there buying fewer tools because they want to save money by, "consolidating". I hate to break it to these guys but consolidation only works if you are the only one doing it. When everyone does it, prices skyrocket because there are fewer tool sales to spread your fixed costs across. This does not even take into account R&D and additional costs from the loss of capability and experience as engineers and technicians flee the capex industry.
No matter how much they try to streamline to reduce their costs, the more the hidden costs will, "skyrocket", no matter how much they whine (don't hold your breath for capex manufacturers to pick up 450). They will end up with more bottlenecks and, "premium", pricing for in-time orders. Intel knows this and will continue making money from the foolishness of others.
Good article. I heard IBM had discussions with Global Foundries this summer about selling their Fishkill fab to them. I also heard Global Foundries decided to pass on the opportunity since IBM was asking for too much money.
The research is the source of IP and therefore the differentiator in the marketplace. With fab costs skyrocketing the need to leverage the fab price tag over many chip streams and customers it becomes a better business model. As long as there is sufficient capacity and 2nd/3rd sourcing options this will continue to be the way to keep costs down and enabling resources to be concentrated on generation of money streams.