The decision of four companies – IBM, Globalfoundries, Samsung Electronics and ST Microelectronics – to synchronize semiconductor manufacturing facilities for the production of advanced chips based on low-power 28nm process represents a strong threat for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, believes Boris Petrov of Petrov Group, a semiconductor analyst company.
At present TSMC has two 300mm megafabs capable of producing 271 thousand of wafers per month. Later this year the company will start building an additional 300mm fab and will also expand manufacturing capacities of existing fab 12 and fab 14. As a result, in one and half or two years time TSMC’s total 300mm capacity will be formidable and in order to compete against the foundry, which can produce more chips than any of the aforementioned contract makers of semiconductors, IBM, Globalfoundries, Samsung and STM decided to synchronize manufacturing facilities so that to offer their customers a way to place large orders onto 28nm chips based on ARM architecture.
“Globalfoundries, IBM, Samsung fabs are all "synchronized" to maximize their capacity against the gigantic TSMC. In fact, high-K metal gate (HKMG) capacity is where TSMC might be still limping and perhaps without huge capacity advantage. This announcement is primarily about manufacturing capacity – not about IBM's IC design tool-systems or something like that,” said Boris Petrov.
Combined 28nm low-power HKMG manufacturing capacities of the four semiconductor makers will be larger than those of TSMC and the companies will be able to serve customers requiring a lot of chips. Considering the fact that the usage of ARM-based and other microprocessors is growing due to rapid expansion of consumer electronics markets, there are loads of potential customers for low-power 28nm HKMG manufacturing process.