LONDON Pasquale Pistorio, chief executive officer of STMicroelectronics, has instructed product line managers that they can have chips manufactured outside the organization if it can be done more cost effectively.
The move is intended to make sure ST's manufacturing operations remain globally competitive, although a theoretical "open market" in manufacturing can sometimes produce anomalies, according to Jim Nicholas, R&D design director for ST's DVD division.
"The CEO has passed a message that we can go outside, if internal fabs are not competitive," Nicholas said, speaking at a London press conference organized by Cadence Design Systems Inc.
Economic incentives are being offered to chip makers to design with 90-nm process technologies because fabs and foundries have invested in the capability. They also want design groups to migrate to fabs and foundries.
Nicholas said he saw little immediate need to go to 90-nm process technol ogy as progress could be made at the 130-nm process technology node more easily through improved architectures and by adding features through software programmability.
"I am reticent about being in 90-nm, but the plant people are starting to make it look a lot more attractive," said Nicholas.