Mark LaPedus, EE Times(05/13/2007 9:00 AM EDT)Dallas
— Moving to remain competitive in what has become a brave new world of IC manufacturing, Texas Instruments Inc. last week disclosed the details of its revised "hybrid" fab strategy. The chip maker is bolstering its in-house efforts in analog production, but it is also shifting more of its logic-based IC work and process flow to the foundries.
As a result of the shift, TI has pushed out the production ramp date for its new--and still unequipped--300-mm fab in Texas by about 18 months.
Nearly half of TI's logic chip production is outsourced to the foundries today, but that figure could jump to 70 percent over time, according to analysts. TI says it has no intention of going fabless for logic. But the chip maker's foundry partners for the 45-nanometer node--TSMC, UMC and a yet-to-be-determined vendor--will play a much bigger role than TI has afforded foundries in the past. And by 32 nm, TI will co-develop its processes at the foundries, whereas traditionally it has done that work in-house.
By turning over more control of logic process development to its foundry partners, TI is also offloading some of the risk. It's a calculated move as the chip industry approaches a new inflection point in manufacturing, with complex technologies introduced for the 45-nm node and beyond.
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