As you may have read, the CEO of Ultratech made some unfortunate statements on the recent quarterly conference call in regards to FinFET Yield. As a result there has been a lot of speculation about the who, what, and why. I blogged about it because it interested me personally plus I wanted to collect more data on the subject. Some of the resulting data was posted publicly but most was emailed to me in private, discussed in person, or on the phone.
Also Read: Let the FinFET Yield Controversy Begin!
One of the many benefits of blogging on SemiWiki is that we have access to an incredible amount of semiconductor related data that passes through the site and our private email. It also gives us bloggers access to the semiconductor rank and file, more so than journalists as we are working semiconductor professionals and travel in the same circles. The bad news is that we get our fair share of hate mail. And when I say “we” it’s mostly me because let’s face it I don’t always play well with others, just check my grade school report cards.
While I speculate and make guesses in my blogs I generally know the truth before going out on a limb. On this occasion however I was wrong. Using deductive reasoning I expertly guessed that it was UMC that pushed out the equipment orders referenced in the conference call. It was not and I apologize. It was Samsung. From what I know, that specific market segment (annealing) is mostly shared between Ultratech and Mattson Technology. Here are clips from the recent conference calls:
UTEK CEO: As we have discussed on past conference calls, the difficult implementation of 3D FinFET microprocessors to high production manufacturing. Once again a major logic manufacturer delayed their FinFET ramp. We had then requested to prepare LSA tools for shipment for the end of the third quarter which was delayed. These LSA shipments for the most part caused our third quarter revenue to be less than projected. These LSA systems have been rescheduled for shipment in the fourth quarter. Due to the continued low yield in FinFET devices for the past two years, we have seen a reduction in new LSA bookings in subsequent shipments…
MTSN CEO:The adjustments of our customers’ production capacity plan caused a slight pause in Mattson’s quarter-to-quarter growth, which is consistent with the industry trend. However, we continue to expect our total 2014 revenue to grow over 40%, it can be achieved 2013. As a recovery of wafer fab equipment spending begins in the coming quarters...
Read the entire transcripts and tell me which one of these companies would you trust your business with if you were a major semiconductor manufacturer? Better yet, which one of these companies would you trust your hard earned investment dollars with?
And just because Samsung allegedly pushed out an equipment order does not mean that FinFETs are in trouble or according to Motley Fool’s “Senior” Technology Specialist: “that neither TSMC nor Samsung quite has the FinFET transistor structure (which promises higher performing transistors at lower power) figured out.”
I was also told that Ultratech lost the Intel and TSMC FinFET annealing business to Mattson which I understand completely since Ultratech clearly “does not play well with others.” If someone wants to briefly explain where annealing fits in with the semiconductor manufacturing process in the comment section it would be greatly appreciated.