GloFo rethinks its future, drops 7nm FinFET

GloFo rethinks its future, drops 7nm FinFET

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

Job cuts will result but the company not indicate how many or whether or not they are additional to the 900 job cuts announced in June 2018 (see Globalfoundries cutting 5% of staff).

The realignment includes retuning its 14/12nm FinFET offerings away from the purely digital to so-called differentiated offerings and putting the 7nm FinFET manufacturing process node on hold indefinitely. In addition, and perhaps more significantly, Globalfoundries is creating an ASIC business as a wholly-owned subsidiary, independent from the foundry business, and that is free to go to other foundries to get designs implemented.

Globalfoundries said it would move development resources to deliver a range of IP and features including RF, embedded memory, low power on its 14nm/12nm FinFET node. Putting 7nm on hold allows Globalfoundries to restructure its R&D to support differentiated design and manufacturing but also requires a workforce reduction. The company said that a number of its top technologists would be redeployed on 14/12nm FinFET derivative processs and other differentiated offerings.

In a statement Caulfield argued that nodes are lasting longer and fewer fabless clients are designing at the leading-edge of Moore’s Law. “We are shifting our resources and focus by doubling down on our investments in differentiated technologies across our entire portfolio that are most relevant to our clients in growing market segments,” he said.

Next: ASIC business

However, a relevant ASIC business requires access to leading-edge technology he said. As a result Globalfoundries will create an independent ASIC business that will provide clients with access to alternative foundry options at 7nm and beyond.

Globalfoundries will continue to focus on fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) technology including RFSOI, high performance SiGe, analog/mixed-signal and other technologies.

“Lifting the burden of investing at the leading edge will allow GF to make more targeted investments in technologies that really matter to the majority of chip designers in fast-growing markets such as RF, IoT, 5G, industrial and automotive,” said Samuel Wang, research vice president at Gartner.”

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