AMD chipmaking arm launches as Globalfoundries
AMD's former manufacturing operation, which was spun off recently by the chipmaker, launches on Wednesday as "Globalfoundries."
Advanced Micro Devices' former manufacturing operation, which was, launches on Wednesday as "Globalfoundries."
The new company is expected to make New York a hub of chip development and manufacturing.
Globalfoundries, which had been, is headed by Doug Grose, formerly senior vice president of manufacturing operations at AMD. Hector Ruiz, formerly AMD's chief executive, will become chairman of the board. It will be headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The breakup of AMD will present challenges from day one. AMD has become, essentially, a design house for chips.
"We will have to step back so we're respecting AMD as one customer of many," Grose said in a phone interview Tuesday. Grose said this won't be an entirely new experience for AMD, whose ATI graphics chip unit already has a longstanding foundry relationship with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). "They already have that rigor and methodology in place," he said.
Although manufacturing will initially be centered in Dresden, Germany, the company plans to break ground on a $4.2 billion manufacturing facility at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County, N.Y., later this year. This is expected to cement existing R&D ties with IBM, which also has chip development and manufacturing bases in relative proximity to Saratoga County. Last year, AMD described this corridor in upstate New York as "one of the leading areas in the world for nanotechnology."
Grose said Globalfoundries has joined the "other side" of the IBM alliance, which is "industry-standard product." In short, though AMD previously had focused on high-performance PC processor-centric technologies, Globalfoundries will now focus on what is described as "bulk" chip technologies, "where the majority of the marketplace is," Grose said. "That's everything from consumer, handheld, wireless, up into graphics markets," he said.
Globalfoundries will target next-generation 32-nanometer and 28-nanometer manufacturing-process technologies as the "sweet spot for leading-edge customers," Grose said. The company's Dresden facilities are slated to begin 32-nanometer production next year. Output in New York is slated for 2012, focusing on 32-nanometer and smaller geometries, Gross said.
And whom, specifically, will Globalfoundries target as customers? "Look at the top 10 fabless companies, and you will get a pretty good cross-section of whom we have started to--or will talk to--very quickly," Grose said. Although Gross would not name names, top fabless companies include Qualcomm, Nvidia, SanDisk, and Broadcom.
AMD will own 34.2 percent of Globalfoundries, while the Advanced Technology Investment Co. will own the rest. ATIC is an investment company wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, which is part of the United Arab Emirates.