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Intel strikes foundry deal with PLD startup

Posted: 05 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intel-Tabula relationship? Intel-Achronix deal? Apple's foundry business?

Reports circulated by Venture Beat and technology news site reveal that Intel Corp. may soon serve as a foundry partner to programmable logic startup Tabula Inc. Last year, the chip giant made the same startling move when it decided to act as foundry supplier to another programmable logic newcomer, Achronix Semiconductor Corp.

The Venture Beat report, which cites an anonymous source, indicates that the relationship with Intel was one of the reasons that Tabula was able to close $108 million in funding earlier this year.

On May 2, Gus Richard, an analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co., said he and fellow Piper Jaffray analysts believe that Intel is vying to land Apple Inc.'s foundry business.

Until the Achronix deal, announced last October, Intel had very rarely agreed to use its manufacturing capacity to build chips for other firms. The Achronix deal was characterized by many as Intel testing the waters of the foundry business. The report, citing anonymous sources, said some Achronix devices will be packaged together with Intel Atom processors, similar to an arrangement Intel announced with Altera Corp. last fall.

Tabula was founded in 2003 by Steve Teig, an EDA pioneer and former chief technology officer at Cadence Design Systems Inc. The company made waves last year when it emerged from stealth mode to describe its three-dimensional programmable logic architecture, which the company says will enable a new class of devices, 3PLDs, that offer the capability of an ASIC, ease of use of an FPGA and price points suitable for volume production. Last March the company announced its 40nm ABAX family of chips, which went into mass production late last year.

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