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The former manufacturing arm of Advanced Micro Devices seems to be on track with its plans to become a contract maker of semiconductors, but the firm must remember that it should do more than that: it should remain competitive against Intel Corp., the world’s largest maker of semiconductors,

Globalfoundries, the manufacturing joint venture between Advanced Micro Devices and Advanced Technologies Investment Company, plans to obtain bulk 32nm process technology already this year and be in position to manufacture chips to its third-party customers in 2010. If the company is successful, then the new contract maker of semiconductors will quickly find itself competitive against large contract makers, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. or United Microelectronics Corp.

IBM, who is heading technology development of technologies in its bulk process alliance, has already produced first experimental SRAM chips using 32nm process technology in Q4 2008 and currently it is expected that its partners, including Globalfoundries, will be ready to produce 32nm chips in Q1 2010.

Currently Globalfoundries has Fab 1 (ex-AMD’s Fab 36 and Fab 38) manufacturing capacities in Dresden, Germany, with total monthly output of 25 thousand 300mm wafers at 45nm process tech. The company hopes that by 2012 its new Fab 2 foundry in New York, USA, will go online and will eventually be able to process up to 35 thousand wafers per month.

For Globalfoundries it is now important to gain customers among fabless chipmakers, such as Nvidia Corp. or Qualcomm. In order to get them onboard, the company recently hired Jim Kupec, who used to be president of the U.S. subsidiary of United Microelectronics Corp., eSilicon, Cypress Semiconductor and so on, as vice president of sales and marketing.

“Globalfoundries is entering the foundry market at the right time and with the right business model to change the landscape of the industry. More importantly, we’re entering the industry with the right mindset and resources. Our investments in leading edge technology and in supporting infrastructure will ensure the success of our customers,” said Mr. Kupec.

But besides attracting traditional fabless companies, Globalfoundries has to stay competitive against Intel Corp. in order to continue serving its most important customer: AMD. The success of the latter depends, among other things, on its ability to migrate quickly to the latest and more efficient process technologies. In order to develop such technologies, Globalfoundries will need to invest. Despite of the fact that at this point Globalfoundries has only one customer, the company hopes that it has enough resources to ensure its competitiveness in the short- to mid-terms.

“Our company is likely to fit this market. We have the experience and with a high-volume manufacturing base of a leading semiconductor manufacturer will lead the market in the future,” said Doug Grose, chief executive officer of Globalfoundries, reports PC Watch web-site.

Tags: AMD, Globalfoundries, Semiconductor

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