Barron’s again published an unsubstantiated semicondutor rumor that is making the rounds. It all started with a Christmas day blog by Robert Maire who is a long time semiconductor analyst. Please note that he is not a semiconductor professional (someone who actually works in the industry) but he certainly does know people who do. According to LinkedIn Robert and I have quite a few connections in common and those connections are semiconductor professionals.
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Let’s take a look at Robert’s blog and let me know how you feel about what he wrote and why he wrote it. It should make for an interesting discussion in the comments section. Robert is also a SemiWiki member so he can see your comments and may reply to them as well.
‘We hate to be the deliverer of bad tidings during the holidays but … Global Foundries pulls the emergency brake…”
He misspelled GlobalFoundries :confused:
We have confirmed through numerous sources that over the last two weeks Global Foundries has stopped deliveries of tools for 14nm to its fab and instead is having the tools housed at a nearby warehouse. We hear that tool makers are told that the fab facilities are not ready and it sounds like a one to two quarter delay. Some tool makers are speculating that the delay could also be related to financial issues or yield issues or a host of other odd rumors.
Well, I have checked multiple sources and the consensus is that this rumor is both true and false. In fact, the official word from GF just came out as I was writing this:
Our 14nm plan has not changed. A key part of the strategy is to order tools ahead of facility readiness to enable the fastest possible ramp. Due to the large number of tools coming in, we have our vendors stage these tools at a nearby warehouse to facilitate a fast install. This logistical move is in no way related to yield challenges or a delay in our technology ramp and is, in fact, quite the opposite. Our Fab 8 ramp is on track and we have yielding customer product on our 14nm technology. Jason Gorss, Senior Manager, Technology Communications, GlobalFoundries
Jason has been with GF since the beginning (which is when we met). He lives in Albany, NY so he would know first hand. According to what I have heard amongst the fabless semiconductor ecosystem, pre-production GF 14nm wafers are in fact in at least one customer’s hands. You can probably guess who the customer is.
The rest of the blog you can read for yourself. But let me say this, with the advent of blogging there are no secrets in the fabless semiconductor ecosystem. We all travel in the same circles, attend the same conferences, and we like to gossip as much as anybody. The one thing that has changed for me since I started blogging is the amount of information I have access to. People know that I will find out the truth at some point in time so lying to me is a really bad idea because I will blog it to death. It is much better to give a “no comment” or something off the record which is what GF and others have done in the past. GF gave me a “no comment” when I broke the story about them buying IBM Semiconductor for example.
The truth on this one will come out in the Q4 2104 earnings calls by the equipment manufacturers I would think. GF is privately held but their equipment vendors are not so they must adhere to strict revenue practices. A company I worked for a while back shipped equipment at the end of the year to a “holding facility” for delivery after the first of the year so they could revenue it. When the auditors found out it was not a happy day, believe me, and that was before blogging!