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Wednesday, 18 September 2013 16:54

Intel to get more partners for foundry business

Written by Fuad Abazovic

Altera won’t be alone

A lot of people in Silicon Valley believe that Intel will sign on more customers for its foundry business. It will be picky about who it chooses, but it is a very likely scenario.

Intel has 22nm and demo 14nm chips, while the competition lead by TSMC is still struggling to get 20nm to market. That is expected next year. By time TSMC gets to 20nm, Intel will be doing 14nm and it seems that Intel is at least a year ahead of the competition.
The mighty Apple A7 chip is a 28nm dual-core chip and Intel plans to ship 14nm mobile chip in 2014, probably the latter half of the year. By then Apple can do A8 in 20nm, but not more than that. Intel is expected to capitalize on this clear processor lead.

Let’s not forget that Brian Krzanich, Intel’s new CEO, was an “operations guy” or Chief Operating Officer than spent a lot of his career managing 50,000 fab employees. Since there is money to be made in this market, Intel will go down this road, but it will have to learn a lot about how things need to be done.

TSMC will have superior marketing and a customer service lead in the foundry model, while Intel will have a superior manufacturing process. Globalfoundries can have a shot even in the higher end market if it gets its yields better and gets the transition to a new process a bit smoother, but TMSC and Intel will remain two dominant forces at least for high end manufacturing processes.

Fuad Abazovic

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