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Qualcomm explores wafer fab options

Posted: 02 Jul 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:28nm Snapdragon? wafer fab? IC manufacturing?

According to a Bloomberg report, Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm Inc., has not ruled out ownership of a wafer fab or breaking the bank to ensure the firm's supply of semiconductor chips.

Qualcomm has suffered a shortage of 28nm Snapdragon processors from its foundry partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC). This lack of supply is projected to constrain earnings growth in the second and third quarters of the year.

The report further states that Qualcomm is assessing its manufacturing options and would consider investing in chip suppliers. Jacobs added that Qualcomm would prefer to remain fabless and not build its own wafer fabs. However, the company could change its stance on owning a means of producing if this action entails a better future.

When the TSMC shortage was revealed, Qualcomm stated that it was turning to other foundry suppliers. Recently, it has been reported that Jacobs visited Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to explore the possibility of acquiring supplies from the Korean brand. Intel has also been suggested as a possible foundry. However, competition for supplies of processors for smartphones and tablet computers would count out both companies in supplying Qualcomm.

Although the 28nm chip supply situation is easing, some Qualcomm customers may have to delay smartphone product launches.

-Peter Clarke
??EE Times

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