EETimes.com – GlobalFoundries, Qualcomm ink foundry deal

EETimes.com – GlobalFoundries, Qualcomm ink foundry deal.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Qualcomm Inc. has expanded its foundry roster, by announcing a deal with GlobalFoundries Inc.Initially, GlobalFoundries (Sunnyvale, Calif.) said it intends to provide Qualcomm (San Diego) with access to 45-nm low-power and 28-nm foundry technologies, with an intended collaboration on future advanced process nodes.

The foundry vendor will provide technologies for handheld products that operate on the CDMA2000, WCDMA and 4G/LTE cellular standards, including the smartbook device segment. Both companies anticipate that GlobalFoundries will begin accepting Qualcomm designs at Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany in 2010.

In addition to advanced technology nodes, the two companies intend to explore other areas to collaborate on such as die-package interaction and 3D packaging technologies.

Qualcomm is a fabless chip maker, which uses a so-called Integrated Fabless Manufacturing (IFM) model. A component of the Qualcomm’s IFM strategy is a multi-foundry approach, which helps assure product supply to Qualcomm’s device manufacturing customers, according to the company.

Qualcomm’s foundry partners include IBM, Samsung, SMIC and TSMC. Then, in 2006, Qualcomm expanded its foundry roster by adding Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte. Ltd.

Now, GlobalFoundries and Chartered have the same owner. Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Co. recently agreed to acquire Singapore-based Chartered for a total of $3.9 billion, continuing its expansion into the contract wafer production business.

Chartered will be folded into GlobalFoundries, the former manufacturing division of Advanced Micro Devices Inc. floated as a separate entity earlier this year by ATIC, which injected funds into the company under a joint venture deal with the microprocessor and graphics IC vendor.

Last month, Chartered said it has begun the next phase of an expansion plan within its 300-mm fab in Singapore. The silicon foundry provider plans to nearly double its production level in Fab 7, from 30,000 wafers a month to 50,000 wafers a month.

GlobalFoundries is separately pursuing its own fab roadmap. And the deal with Qualcomm is huge. In mid-2009, the new foundry provider acknowledged that it had only two customers: AMD and STMicroelectronics Inc. Even AMD’s graphics chip unit, ATI, was still going with TSMC.

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