The Myth Of Commodity CMOS
A few years back you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing someone say: ‘Advanced digital CMOS is now a commodity – available in any foundry’.
Usually this pronouncement came from financial people – bankers’ analysts and the like. These guys, befuddled by numbers, pushed IDMs to go fab-lite.
The financial community regarded it as a sine qua non that fab-liteness or fablessness was the only sane strategy for a semiconductor company.
The debacle at GloFo has now made it clear that the financial community was – not for the first time – talking bollox.
The GloFo saga shows that manufacturing advanced digital CMOS is bloody difficult – as everyone in the industry always knew.
Intel, TI , Toshiba, Samsung and a few other a downy old birds didn’t fall for the financial community’s bollox.
Now, excellence in digital CMOS manufacturing is seen for what it is – a crucial competitive differentiator.
TSMC has already gone into business to make LEDs and solar cells on its own account, and it has a pretty well captive SOC business in Global Unichip, so what if it capitalises on its almost unique excellence in manufacturing advanced digital CMOS and starts making proprietary ICs?
The fabless and fab-lite would be well and truly caught with their trousers down.