Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
Semi Industry Is Now Single-Sourced, says Penn
The semiconductor industry is becoming single-sourced as companies find it economically impossible to use multiple fabs for the same chip design, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, tells SEMI’s ISS 2013 meeting in Stresa on Lake Maggiore today..
“Portability is no longer possible – even for the CPA – there is no chance at the mask or even at the OASIS level,” says Penn, “the pre-DFM file shares the nearest commonality but that falls down at the SRAM level.”
“Many ARM hard cores are specially tuned to each foundry,” adds Penn, “DFM is already finely tuned and foundry dependent. If you still think SOCs are not single-sourced, ask Apple.”
Penn’s conclusion is: “Not only is the chip industry now fabless, with a few notable exceptions, it is also single-sourced.”
Of course, with TSMC making all the 28nm output last year, and with TSMC CEO Morris Chang, saying he expects to make nearly all of the 28nm ICs made in 2013, there is only one source of leading edge fab.