GF is realigning its leading-edge FinFET roadmap to serve the next wave of clients that will adopt the technology in the coming years. The company will shift development resources to make its 14/12nm FinFET platform more relevant to these clients, delivering a range of innovative IP and features including RF, embedded memory, low power and more. To support this transition, GF is putting its 7nm FinFET programme on hold indefinitely and restructuring its research and development teams to support its enhanced portfolio initiatives. This will require a workforce reduction, however a significant number of top technologists will be redeployed on 14/12nm FinFET derivatives and other differentiated offerings.
"Demand for semiconductors has never been higher, and clients are asking us to play an ever-increasing role in enabling tomorrow's technology innovations", Tom Caulfield stated. "The vast majority of today's fabless customers are looking to get more value out of each technology generation to leverage the substantial investments required to design into each technology node. Essentially, these nodes are transitioning to design platforms serving multiple waves of applications, giving each node greater longevity. This industry dynamic has resulted in fewer fabless clients designing into the outer limits of Moores Law. We are shifting our resources and focus by doubling down on our investments in differentiated technologies across our entire portfolio that are most relevant to our clients in growing market segments."
In addition, to better leverage GFs strong heritage and significant investments in ASIC design and IP, the company is establishing its ASIC business as a wholly-owned subsidiary, independent from the foundry business. A relevant ASIC business requires continued access to leading-edge technology. This independent ASIC entity will provide clients with access to alternative foundry options at 7nm and beyond, while allowing the ASIC business to engage with a broader set of clients, especially the growing number of systems companies that need ASIC capabilities and more manufacturing scale than GF can provide alone.
GF is intensifying investment in areas where it has clear differentiation and adds true value for clients, with an emphasis on delivering feature-rich offerings across its portfolio. This includes continued focus on its FDXTM platform, leading RF offerings - including RF SOI and high-performance SiGe, analog/mixed signal, and other technologies designed for a growing number of applications that require low power, real-time connectivity, and on-board intelligence. GF is uniquely positioned to serve this burgeoning market for "connected intelligence", with strong demand in new areas such as autonomous driving, IoT and the global transition to 5G.
"Lifting the burden of investing at the leading edge will allow GF to make more targeted investments in technologies that really matter to the majority of chip designers in fast-growing markets such as RF, IoT, 5G, industrial and automotive", stated Samuel Wang, research vice president at Gartner. "While the leading edge gets most of the headlines, fewer customers can afford the transition to 7nm and finer geometries. 14nm and above technologies will continue to be the important demand driver for the foundry business for many years to come. There is significant room for innovation on these nodes to fuel the next wave of technology."