The transition to 450 mm has been a tough sell for sure, but I can foresee a time where once a couple of early adopters such as Intel and Samsung make the move to 450 mm other companies will be forced to follow or they will no longer be competitive - especially the commodity memory producers. At that point we may see more consolidation and joint ventures as smaller players struggle to survive.
I agree with Dave and @docdivakar and think this transition will continue to get pushed out...who can really afford it? Its a huge investment requiring new tools and new fabs. Intel and Samsung for sure but I doubt there will be many more takers...there is much more excitement in semi industry in growing vertically (3-D) than horizontally! I bet in the future there will be more silicon cubes than large silicon pizzas! Kris
This is not too surprising given the state of the world's economies during the past couple of years. If you've not yet been able to get adequate returns on the current state of the art, you really aren't very willing to move on to the next, especially if you're still able to make money at the current level.
I suspect we'll see a few large players making the move because they have seen the returns and can afford the investment and some slightly smaller players holding back and hoping to leap-frog to the next level when it becomes available.
The analyst from Piper Jaffray makes a valid point: until the equipment makers (I would include backend and test equipment as well) see value-adding opportunity, the 450mm launch will keep getting pushed out. Chances are, by 2015 and beyond, there will be fewer fabs that can afford the $Billions needed to upgrade.
This is definitely a quandary for the 300mm fabs; on one hand, we see fewer fabless companies with products off the drawing board (we hear any where from $5M to $50M for a new ASIC development), more consolidation that seems to be coming in fabless companies, while on the other, emerging 3D chips may still use 200mm wafers, or worse, put more pricing pressure on the 300mm fabs.
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