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Fabless Semiconductor Companies

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A fabless semiconductor company is a company that designs, verifies, and sells semiconductors under its own brand or for other brands but does not own the fabrication plant to make the semiconductors. Instead, a fabless company outsources its chip fabrication to a semiconductor foundry, such as TSMC, Globalfoundries, and UMC.

Companies such as AMD, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Apple, Rambus, MediaTek, and countless startups are fabless: they ship their designs to a semiconductor foundry for manufacturing.

Before the 1980s, semiconductor companies owned their own fabrication plants. Intel, Texas Instruments and others had fabs and still do. (They are now called pure play or IDMs.)

A company that just sells its IP to other companies that are designing chips is not a fabless semiconductor.