Transforming the Semiconductor Industry to Meet the Demands of a New Era
The Mobile Era is clearly upon us. Mobile devices are outselling PCs. More people access the internet through their phone or tablet than their desktop. The mainstream media dedicate front-page stories to new product introductions. What does this all mean to the electronics industry, and the semiconductor infrastructure that supports it?
The Mobile Era introduces new challenges and new types of players. Low power, multi-core, and apps-driven are the new priorities; Amazon, Google and Facebook are some of the new players – all trying to stake claims to the fertile ground being cultivated by the likes of Apple and Samsung. A much more complex and interconnected ecosystem defines this new reality, and companies are jockeying for position to align with the right partners and technologies.
At the semiconductor level is it clear that the old manufacturing model won't support the needs of this dynamic new landscape. Indeed, some industry experts and observers have predicted that the traditional foundry/fabless model that has worked so well in the PC era, might be headed for extinction at some point.
The foundry-based fabless model is not going away, and moreover it is driving manufacturers and device designers closer together. But like all living organisms, especially those in electronics, we have to continue to evolve. Clearly, we must change -- Call it Foundry 2.0
Ironically, we foresee a move toward a more IDM-like model, non both technical and business levels. Strategic collaboration that creates a ‘virtual IDM-like interface’ to chip design companies will help further close the gap between process teams at the manufacturing companies and design teams at the fabless companies. With daunting technical challenges like 3D stacking, 450mm fabs, new transistor architectures, multi-patterning, and the long-term viability of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, collaboration – early, often and deep - - is really the only practical approach given the cost and complexities involved.
This talk will examine the evolution and future of the foundry model, the technical and business drivers reshaping the landscape, and how fabless and IDM companies must change their perspective on what has worked in the past. Success will be a result of much closer joint development at the technology definition level, early engagement at architectural stage, and a more integrated and cooperative ecosystem – EDA, packaging companies IP suppliers. “Collaborative device manufacturing partnerships” will evolve that revise the true spirit of win-win on which the fabless/foundry models was initially based.