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Globalfoundries CEO: Time for foundry 2.0

Posted: 17 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Foundries? process technology? IDMs? FDSOI?

Globalfoundries CEO Ajit Manocha emphasized that like any other technology, the fabless/foundry model has it share of challenges but it still is a thriving operation.

The Globalfoundries exec went off on critics who stated that the fabless model era was pretty much over, claiming instead that the foundry model is still experiencing huge growth rates and it continues to outpace other chip industry segments.

Indeed, it is integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), Manocha countered, who should be wary of the future. The integrated model was, he asserted, is a dead end.

While Manocha admitted the impact of mobility had certainly put pressure on the foundry model, forcing his company to pick up the pace, the CEO said Globalfoundries is poised to move to the next round of process technology nodes, even as other big foundry players drop off.

"Only four players have capabilities to offer leading edge technologies beyond 28 nm," he said, citing, Intel, Samsung, TSMC and Globalfoundries. This, he said, made the foundry market opportunity all the more compelling and concentrated at the leading edge, with a compound annual growth rate of some 37 per cent in the next three years. In terms of monetary value, Manocha said the leading edge now represented a $27.5 billion opportunity.

That's not to say there aren't challenges to keep Manocha awake at night. He said they can be divided into technical and economic challenges. Among the technical challenges, Manocha cited achieving the required power density for optimum battery life, at a low cost, while ensuring the technology remained reliable and interconnects held up. He also cited retaining engineering talent and collaboration with clients at the earliest design stages.

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On the economic side, compressed product cycles along with capacity, design and manufacturing costs are among the geographic risks affecting supply, IP and competition.

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