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IQE

28 August 2018

GlobalFoundries refocusing FinFET development from 7nm to 14/12nm to target high-growth markets, including RF SOI and SiGe

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

In line with the strategic direction launched following the appointment of Tom Caulfield as CEO in March, GlobalFoundries of Santa Clara, CA, USA (one of the world’s largest semiconductor foundries, with operations in Singapore, Germany and the USA) is reshaping its technology portfolio to intensify its focus on delivering differentiated offerings for clients in high-growth markets.

The firm is realigning its leading-edge FinFET roadmap to serve the next wave of clients that will adopt the technology in the coming years. It will shift development resources to make its 14/12nm FinFET platform more relevant to these clients, delivering a range of IP and features including RF, embedded memory, and low power. To support this transition, GlobalFoundries is putting its 7nm FinFET program on hold indefinitely and restructuring its R&D teams to support its enhanced portfolio initiatives. This will require a workforce reduction, but a significant number of top technologists will be redeployed on 14/12nm FinFET derivatives and other differentiated offerings.

“The vast majority of today’s fabless customers are looking to get more value out of each technology generation to leverage the substantial investments required to design into each technology node,” notes Caulfield. “Essentially, these nodes are transitioning to design platforms serving multiple waves of applications, giving each node greater longevity. This industry dynamic has resulted in fewer fabless clients designing into the outer limits of Moore’s Law,” he adds. “We are shifting our resources and focus by doubling down on our investments in differentiated technologies across our entire portfolio that are most relevant to our clients in growing market segments.”

In addition, to better leverage its heritage and investments in ASIC design and IP, GlobalFoundries is establishing its ASIC business as a wholly owned subsidiary, independent from the foundry business. Since a relevant ASIC business requires continued access to leading-edge technology, the independent ASIC entity will provide clients with access to alternative foundry options at 7nm and beyond, while allowing the ASIC business to engage with a broader set of clients, especially the growing number of systems companies that need ASIC capabilities and more manufacturing scale than GlobalFoundries can provide alone.

GlobalFoundries says that it is intensifying investment in areas where it has clear differentiation and adds true value for clients, with an emphasis on delivering feature-rich offerings across its portfolio. This includes continued focus on its FDX platform, leading RF offerings (including RF SOI and high-performance SiGe), analog/mixed signal, and other technologies designed for a growing number of applications that require low power, real-time connectivity, and on-board intelligence. GlobalFoundries reckons that it is uniquely positioned to serve this burgeoning market for ‘connected intelligence’, with strong demand in new areas such as autonomous driving, Internet of Things (IoT) and the global transition to 5G.

“Lifting the burden of investing at the leading edge will allow GlobalFoundries to make more targeted investments in technologies that really matter to the majority of chip designers in fast-growing markets such as RF, IoT, 5G, industrial and automotive,” comments Samuel Wang, research vice president at market analyst firm Gartner. “Fewer customers can afford the transition to 7nm and finer geometries,” he adds. “14nm and above technologies will continue to be the important demand driver for the foundry business for many years to come. There is significant room for innovation on these nodes to fuel the next wave of technology.”

See related items:

GlobalFoundries extends silicon photonics roadmap to meet demand for data-center connectivity

GlobalFoundries delivering 45nm RF SOI customer prototypes for 5G front-end modules

GlobalFoundries launches 8SW RF SOI process for next-gen mobile and 5G applications

Tags: GLOBALFOUNDRIES SOI

Visit: www.globalfoundries.com

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