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I’m curious at which point IFS is scaled enough to make not only profit for Intel but decent margins. Also there is the question of capacity. Utilization will presumed to be tight in boom times because Intel will want to push through as many of its own products through one would think. Where does that leave IFS customers? They have to compete with Intels own designs for capacity allocation id imagine. I’m aware their would be contracts and Intel wouldn’t just screw over its customers but it could delay or refuse to sign additional allocation if it thinks it is in its best interest to allocate future capacity to its own products. If Intel makes more money makes its own chips how could they possibly expect to know how much to allocate to customers? You all are welcome to skewer the hell out of my ramblings as I was just thinking out loud.
That is certainly one of the big questions that has to be answered for intel to build trust. To some degree they can probably never offer the same security a pureplay foundry could offer, but that doesn't mean that steps can't be made towards the ideal of TSMC. Below is a disorderly list of some of my thoughts and speculation on the matter:
- Oddly enough external customers may be more favorable than internal customers. If intel pays a lower cost for wafers, then it would be in IFS's best interest to maximize the percentage of external wafers to boost revenues and margins (although this is obviously not in design's best interest).
- With one of the core tenants of IDM 2.0 being increasing foundry use, maybe boom times might see increased external foundry use to help meet demand.
- Another scenario worth considering would be that intel might intentionally choose to outsource some bits to external foundries in an effort to ensure that key IFS partners never "go hungry" on wafers.
- One final parallel I would like to draw is with the TSMC and their inner circle. It doesn't matter how much Qualcomm or GM want some N2P wafers, Apple gets first dibs, AMD gets second pick, and MediaTek gets third. Presumably intel will be IFS's Apple, and maybe there is room for one or two more companies inside of the IFS inner circle. These firms might get first dibs, with other companies having to wait their turn in line to sign wafer agreements for the year 20xx.