By Mark LaPedus
Altera has entered into an agreement for the future manufacturing of its FPGAs based on Intel’s 14nm tri-gate transistor technology. Intel will provide foundry services for the FPGA giant. That puts the processor giant on a collision course in the foundry business against the likes of GlobalFoundries, Samsung, TSMC and UMC
The Altera-Intel deal could change the landscape in the foundry business, in which Intel will likely become a much bigger player in the arena. But does Intel have staying power to remain in the foundry business? Added John Vinh, an analyst from Pacific Crest Securities: Altera’s “foundry agreement with Intel is exclusive for the foreseeable future. We believe Altera will have exclusive access versus Xilinx at 14nm and effectively have the right of first refusal at 10nm. Strategically, we believe this is likely the most significant aspect of this agreement in that it prevents Xilinx from having access.”
At SPIE, ASML Holding disclosed various milestones with its extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology. ASML’s EUV production tool, dubbed the NXE:3300B, has demonstrated resolutions of 13nm for lines and spaces and 18nm contact holes. In addition, ASML demonstrated a 40-Watt source with dose control and under good collector protection conditions in six 1-hour runs. It also demonstrated a 55-Watt source in a 1 hour run. But that’s a far cry from the eventual goal. By 2015, ASML hopes to deliver a 250-Watt source for the NXE:3300B, thereby enabling a throughput of 126 wafers an hour.
With the help of self-aligned double patterning (SADP), sometimes called spacer, ASML’s NXE:3300B also demonstrated the ability to print lines and spaces down to 9nm. The work was done in conjunction with ASML, Applied Materials and Imec.
At the International Semiconductor Strategy Symposium in Europe (ISS Europe) on Feb. 24-26, the European semiconductor industry discussed 450mm fabs and other chip topics. In addition, European Commissioner Neelie Kroes floated the idea of creating an “Airbus for chips,” a European initiative for the semiconductor industry comparable to the launch of the Airbus in the aviation industry.
Also at ISS Europe, Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO of Future Horizons, said that the decline of the major European chip makers has been a result of a defeatist attitude, not necessarily fundamental structural issues. He suggests European chip makers should build a 450mm fab jointly and operate it as a foundry.
SEMI has announced the release of “Global Trade War and Peace: Unified Approaches to a Global Solar Energy Solution,” a white paper containing recommendations to move beyond trade litigation and encourage an accelerated path towards dispute resolution.
In case your calendar has turned into a blur, take note: Semicon is near! SEMI, in collaboration with leading investment groups, has announced the Silicon Innovation Forum (SIF). The forum will bridge funding gaps for new and early-stage companies with manufacturing and technology solutions. SIF will be held in conjunction with Semicon West, on July 9 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Peregrine Semiconductor rolled out its latest version of its UltraCMOS process technology, dubbed Semiconductor Technology Platform 8 (STeP8). UltraCMOS is a variant of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology called silicon-on-sapphire (SoS).
Also in Spain, Skyworks Solutions said it is ramping several antenna-tuning products with leading smartphone manufacturers. The tuning devices are based on SOI technology.
The RATP Group, the fifth-largest urban transport operator worldwide, has awarded Soitec and Philips/Step an LED lighting contract for its metro and network stations.
Soitec and Medina College of Technology have signed a cooperative agreement for concentrating photovoltaic technology in Saudi Arabia.
GT Advanced Technologies has entered into a development and licensing agreement with Soitec to develop and commercialize a hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) system for producing GaN template substrates.
Mentor Graphics announced record financial results for the company’s fiscal fourth quarter and year ended Jan. 31.
During a conference call, Walden Rhines, chairman and CEO of Mentor, said the quarter was an all-time revenue and EPS record. Rhines also has a mixed forecast for the overall IC industry in 2013. “For next year, the analysts project mid-single-digit growth, but the general attitude is less positive,” he said.
Mentor Graphics rolled out the Kronos Cell Characterization and Analysis platform.
A blogger discusses Applied Materials, saying the company is at the cyclical trough and its prospects should improve with an increase in equipment spending.
Applied Materials announced that Bob Halliday has been named senior vice president and chief financial officer. Halliday previously was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates prior to Applied’s acquisition of the company in November 2011.
Micron Technology announced the Tokyo District Court’s issuance of an order approving Elpida’s plan of reorganization. Elpida’s plan of reorganization calls for Micron to acquire Elpida. In addition, mixed-signal foundry specialist LFoundry has acquired Micron’s fab in Italy.
Whatever happened to Conexant Systems? The chipmaker recently went private to avoid a takeover. Now, the company this week implemented a restructuring agreement. As part of the plan, Conexant voluntarily filed protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
Photomask maker Photronics has announced its intent to acquire the shares of its majority-owned Taiwan subsidiary, PSMC.
After a loss and a proxy battle, Aetrium is considering options that may include a sale or other disposition of one or both of its reliability test and test handler product groups.
According to IHS, the competitive landscape of the cell-phone integrated circuits business has completely transformed over the past five years, with Qualcomm and Samsung capitalizing on the rise of smartphones and 4G.