Ana Hunter, Foundry Services VP at Samsung Semiconductor, had the honor of kicking off the Global Technology Forum in Silicon Valley. She decided to devote her short intro speech to answering the basic question about the Common Platform—a partnership among Samsung, IBM, and GLOBALFOUNDRIES—devoted to developing common semiconductor manufacturing technology so that one GDS file can be manufactured by any of the three partners.
“Why do we collaborate?”, she asked. She gave ten reasons but a few were for fun, so here are the serious answers:
- It’s too complicated for one company alone to get it done. Planar CMOS devices have run out of steam so the future involves FinFETs at 14nm. That’s a big discontinuity.
- It’s very expensive. It takes $1 to $2 billion to develop a new process node. It takes another $250 million to develop libraries and IP for each new process node. Then there’s $100 million or so to design a chip and $7 billion to build a fab to make the chip. So $10 billion or so needs to be spent before there’s a revenue stream.
- The Common Platform collaboration provides a geographically diverse foundry supply chain.
Ultimately, said Hunter, the member companies of the Common Platform collaborate “because it’s the right thing to do.”