If you need hard evidence that consolidation in the semiconductor industry can be a good thing, then look no further than the visible success GLOBALFOUNDRIES is enjoying in the year-and-change since it completed its acquisition of the IBM Microelectronics business.
In the 01 July 2015 press release GF issued about the acquisition, Sanjay Jha, chief executive officer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, was quoted saying “Today we have significantly enhanced our technology development capabilities and reinforce our long-term commitment to investing in R&D for technology leadership … We have added world-class technologists and differentiated technologies, such as RF and ASIC, to meet our customers’ needs and accelerate our progress toward becoming a foundry powerhouse.”
And a powerhouse it now is.
IBM always had the world’s best semiconductor technology, IMHO.
My personal observations about that started from when IBM rescued Intel during my Intel days, ca. 1982. (“I.B.M., which once owned as much as 20 percent of Intel, bought its stake to bolster financially a key supplier whose microprocessors are used in all I.B.M. personal computers.” We hacked our Intel badges the day after the 1982 investment to have them read IBM. It was funny.)
Then came nearly three decades of having IBM as my customer, trafficking with the fabs in Burlington, VT, and Fishkill, NY, as well as checking in with the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, and the Almaden Research Center in San Jose.
I was in awe.
Which is how I left after the morning session of the GLOBALFOUNDRIES Technical Conference at the DoubleTree Hotel in San Jose, CA, on 15 September 2016.
GF’s accomplishments over the past year, again IMHO, are due in no small part to having the IBM best-and-brightest on the case, starting at the very top with Dr. Gary Patton, now Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Research and Development at GLOBALFOUNDRIES, following his position as Vice President of IBM’s Semiconductor Research and Development Center.
Dr. Patton traded blue for orange, as the joke goes. And it suits him well. (Thanks, Dave Lammers!)
GTC 2016 was covered widely if you would like to read more, up to and including a piece in The Wall Street Journal, and there are two more installments of GTC 2016 to go, one in Munich and one in Shanghai, should you find yourself in that part of the world, and are interested.
Readers, the feeling for me of GLOBALFOUNDRIES in 2016 takes me back to old Intel days, and the thrill of working on something important with someone important. Those were still the days of Gordon Moore, Andy Grove, and Bob Noyce being hands-on managers, and even out in remote Livermore in my Intel Fab 3, we had Paoli Gargini to worship on a daily basis.
At GLOBALFOUNDRIES today the rock stars are Gary Patton, Greg Bartlett, Bami Bastami, Mike Cadigan, Tom Caulfield, and others, a kind of Supergroup of advanced semiconductor fabrication.
They may have broken up the old IBM band, but the new one that formed rocks.
From Santa Clara, CA, thanks for reading. ~PFW
p.s. If you are eager to follow more of what GLOBALFOUNDRIES has going on in the fabs and in the labs please consider the SEMI Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference 2017 in Saratoga Springs, NY. The ASMC Call for Papers is now open, with abstracts being accepted until 17 October 2016. GLOBALFOUNDRIES is an active participant in SEMI ASMC, as well as being a generous supporter. ASMC is the leading international technical conference for exploring solutions to improve the collective micro-electronics manufacturing expertise and is now in its 28th year.