The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Intel gets defensive; GF’s 14nm flow; fab tool forecast; Applied and KLA-Tencor speak up.

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In what was called a defensive measure by some, Intel has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Altera for $54 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $16.7 billion.

Here’s what one analyst said about the deal. “We continue to believe Intel’s pursuit of Altera–at a significant premium–was based on a defensive position, rather than the purely accretive strategic combination presented by Intel management. Through ‘product synergies” representing 60% of the expected deal value creation, Intel is leveraging FPGA acceleration to help defend Xeon’s position in cloud-based server applications–a key target of emerging ARM-based server processors. Additionally, Intel expects to use FPGAs to extend its reach in Internet of Things (IoT) markets,” said Hans Mosesmann, an analyst with Raymond James & Associates. “Perhaps more importantly, Intel is keen to keep Altera as a foundry customer at 10mn, rather than risk losing the business back to TSMC. Notably, Altera has apparently yet to make a final decision regarding a 10nm foundry partner, though Intel management suggested they like their chances to win the business; recall, Altera had initially expected to announce a final decision by March 2015.”

GlobalFoundries has rolled out its design infrastructure for its 14nm finFET process technology. With key ecosystem partners–such as Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics, and Synopsys–GlobalFoundries has developed new digital design flows for register-transfer level (RTL) to graphic design database system (GDS) implementation. Integrated with a process design kit (PDK) and standard cell libraries, the flows create a digital design “starter kit.”

SEMI announced the update of its World Fab Forecast report for 2015 and 2016. The report projects that semiconductor fab equipment spending is expected to increase 11% ($38.7 billion) in 2015 and another 5% ($40.7 billion) in 2016.

Robert Halliday, senior vice president and CFO of Applied Materials, gave a mixed outlook for the fab tool industry at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference in San Francisco. He also talked about Applied’s products, market share, and its ill-fated plan to acquire Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL).

In a blog, Applied Materials discussed the landscape in the venture capital arena. As it turns out, corporate VCs are one of the fastest growing segments of the venture ecosystem.

Bren Higgins, chief financial officer at KLA-Tencor, also spoke at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference. He addressed several issues, including optical inspection, e-beam and EUV.

ARM has signed a graphics technology agreement with Samsung. The subscription license covers ARM’s Mali graphics processing units (GPUs), including the Mali-T820/830/860, the recently announced Mali-T880 and all future Mali GPUs.

The worldwide wearable device market recorded its eighth consecutive quarter of steady growth in the first quarter of 2015. According to IDC, vendors shipped a total of 11.4 million wearables in 1Q ‘15, a 200% increase from the 3.8 million wearables shipped in 1Q ‘14. “Bucking the post-holiday decline normally associated with the first quarter is a strong sign for the wearables market,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager to IDC. “What remains to be seen is how Apple’s arrival will change the landscape. The Apple Watch will likely become the device that other wearables will be measured against, fairly or not. This will force the competition to up their game in order to stay on the leading edge of the market.”



  • SemiMike

    Thanks for the review and links. GF is getting more interesting. Hope they can keep up the technology pace and still deliver on current orders, always an internal resource war in this industry.