Silicon Wafers: Tight Supply, High Prices


For years, the silicon wafer industry suffered from oversupply and depressed prices, causing considerable consolidation in the industry. Then, two or so years ago, the IC industry entered into a boom cycle. Silicon wafer vendors began to experience tight supply amid strong demand from IC makers. Some silicon wafer makers even raised their prices. Today, the silicon wafer market remains st... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers GlobalFoundries has announced the addition of nine new partners to its RFwave Partner Program, including AkronIC, Ask Radio, Catena, University of Waterloo Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems (CIARS), Giga Solution, Helic, Incize, Mentor Graphics and Xpeedic Technology. The RFwave Partner Program builds upon GF’s radio-frequency (RF) efforts. The new partners will pro... » read more

RF SOI Wars Begin


Several foundries are expanding their fab capacities for RF SOI processes amid huge demand and shortages of this technology for smartphones. A number of foundries are increasing their 200mm RF SOI fab capacities to meet soaring demand. Then, GlobalFoundries, TowerJazz, TSMC and UMC are expanding or bringing up RF SOI processes in 300mm fabs in an apparent race to garner the first wave of RF ... » read more

5 Takeaways From SEMI’s SMC


At the recent Strategic Materials Conference (SMC), there were a multitude of presentations on a number of subjects. The event, sponsored by SEMI, had presentations on the IC industry, market drivers, electronic materials and other subjects. In no particular order, here are my five takeaways from SMC: Materials M&A mania Last year, the IC industry experienced a dizzying array of merger ... » read more

Silicon Wafers: M&A, Price Hikes


Chipmakers need to keep a close eye on the silicon wafer industry, as the business continues to undergo a number of changes. On one front, the silicon wafer industry continues to consolidate. Then, after years of suffering from an oversupply and falling prices, many silicon wafer vendors are experiencing tight supply and have begun to raise prices. Silicon wafers are a fundamental part of... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers At this week’s IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco, TSMC as well as the team of GlobalFoundries, IBM and Samsung separately presented papers on 7nm finFET technology. Qualcomm has begun sampling the world’s first 10nm server processor. As the first in the Qualcomm Centriq product family, the ARM-based processor has up to 48-cores and is built ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools Is Nikon’s semiconductor lithography equipment business on the ropes? Amid losses and dwindling market share, the company has announced a major restructuring plan for this unit. It will reduce fixed costs related to its 193nm immersion scanner business “by headcount rationalization and re-assignments of 1,000 employees,” according to Nikon. In addition, Nikon is reassessing its... » read more

Politics And (Low) Power


This week the entire semiconductor market woke up with a severe political hangover. Aside from the initial shock of the election results themselves, the winning platform of "America First" could have far-reaching implications for an industry that has spent decades optimizing a global supply chain the way it has finely tuned other processes to reduce the cost per transistor. There are many un... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Nov. 1


U.S. to boost IC competitiveness President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST) has launched a new semiconductor working group in the United States. The new working group will focus on ways to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. semiconductor industry. It will provide recommendations to PCAST regarding the challenges facing the U.S. semiconductor industry. Th... » read more

Will There Be Enough Silicon Wafers?


The silicon wafer industry, a critical part of the IC supply chain, is undergoing a new and perhaps alarming wave of merger and acquisition activity. While consolidation in this sector is not new, the pace of M&A activity is picking up and there are fewer companies left. Silicon wafer makers produce and sell raw silicon wafers to chipmakers, which process them into chips. But despite con... » read more

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