- Oct 22, 2004
Thanks for a well argued, on-topic reply. Yours deserve a point-by-point reply.They might open up their fabs to third parties in a big way, but why would they go fabless?
Basically, Intel will go fabless because the huge burden of maintaining a lead in process tech is becoming a liability. That's the gist of my argument, which you probably will find better articulated by articles, blog posts and forum discussions on this topic floating around on the Internet.
What about the IBM-GlobalFoundries deal? Is that a bad deal?AMD/GloFo was a terrible long-term deal for AMD.
The specific terms of the WSA between AMD and GlobalFoundries may initially have been somewhat balanced against AMD. However, I think Lisa Su has fixed that in the latest renegotiation. Also, GlobalFoundries' missteps on 14nm (which led to the subsequent licensing of Samsung's 14LPP process) colours many observers' view on the matter, I guess. Hopefully, GlobalFoundries will redeem themselves with a great home-brewed 7LP process. Just think about it. The latter may beat Intel to the market. Intel falling behind has been unheard of throughout silicon manufacture history. The WSA may turn out to be very good for AMD, primarily because GlobalFoundries' planning and roadmap focus on satisfying it. It is what Lisa Su calls "deep partnerships".
Samsung is itself considering divesting its fabs. The problem is that not being a pure-play foundry works against them in competition with TSMC's pure-play business model. Customers of TSMC never have to worry about partnering with a competitor (ref. Apple vs Samsung).That is not a model to follow, so much as Samsung's business model is.
I guess this is also the reason why Intel's foundry play has so far failed. They primarily plan the manufacturing roadmap around their own products, not the foundry customer's needs. Customers rather go with TSMC.
True. In an agreement with GlobalFoundries (or whoever they sell to), they will have to ensure supply through the WSA (ref. the IBM-GlobalFoundries deal). Still, by going fabless they have access to the capacity of the whole foundry market, which adds flexibility and reduces risk. We can see this play out now for AMD, with Lisa Su dual-sourcing 7nm wafers from TSMC and GlobalFoundries. AMD even has a second-source agreement with Samsung on 14LPP, I think (unless it has run out by now).[Intel's] business is very much based on having massive production capacity
And most design houses have gone fabless for this reason, i.e. the mounting cost of leading-edge semiconductor manufacture.True, but that's affecting other companies, as well.
I definitely think fabless is Intel's destiny. If not in the next couple of generations, then in the end.