Business, Hardware

GlobalFoundries signs STMicroelectronics as the first customer

Four months after the completion of AMD’s spin-off move and the subsequent launch of GlobalFoundries, the foundry announced its first customer [sans mandatory AMD]. The first customer is no other but STMicroelectronics, semiconductor maker and a foundry of its own.

STMicro’s execs signed the "strategic customer relationship" targeting products based on 40nm Low Power bulk silicon process. Given the multi-billion dollar costs that STMicro was facing in order to convert one of their five Fabs (four making 200mm wafers, one making 300mm wafers), it was easier to sign the manufacturing deal for 40nm Low-Power.

In a press release, Jean-Marc Chery [Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer for STMicro] stated that in order:
"to ensure ample capacity for our customer/partners at the leading-edge of low-power design, ST needs an agile and high-performance manufacturing partner that can adapt to our changing needs."

STMicroelectronics will manufacture processing chips focusing on wireless, handheld devices and consumer products, but the deal does not exclude custom products for automotive, airline, and transport industry in general, with micro-processing units based on architectures such as ARM or FPGA and then expanded with application-specific units in order to accommodate customer demands. This is also an uphill struggle that STMicro faces, but the company is targeting that 40nm LP just might do the trick to keep its market advantage over upcoming designs from the players such as Intel, nVidia, Qualcomm and Samsung.

The chips will be manufactured in Fab1 Module 2 [formerly known as AMD Fab 30/38], and transported in wafer form to STMicroelectronics assembly plants in Malta, Malaysia [Muar] and China [Shenzen]. Starting in 2010, and your car/plane/train/smartphone/smartbook should see chips with the markings "STMicroelectronics, Assembled in Malta/Malaysia/China, DIFFUSED IN GERMANY".