Back in my IP days we spent a lot of time with the ASIC companies chasing multi-million dollar licensing deals. IBM was a fierce ASIC competitor back then with leading edge processes and a silicon proven IP catalog that was unmatched.
Unfortunately that ended at 65nm as the pure-play foundries (TSMC and UMC) and fabless ASIC companies (eSilicon and Open Silicon) came into power. ASIC industry pioneers VLSI Technology and LSI Logic were assimilated while IBM ASIC would fade into the background using mature nodes. That all changed of course with the IBM Semiconductor acquisition by GLOBALFOUNDRIES in 2015. Not only did GF get the IBM advanced process technology, they got the famed ASIC business unit to rival TSMC’s GUC and UMC’s Faraday ASIC offspring.
Some may remember that Scott Jones and I visited the IBM Burlington fab (now GF Fab 9) late last year and got a briefing by GF ASIC VP Jim Rogers. Jim was a career IBM guy with 10+ years in the ASIC business unit. He gave us a spirited presentation about what GF was going to do in the ASIC business so I thought it would be interesting to see how things stacked up a year later. You can see his original slide deck HERE.
Last week I caught up with Jim by phone and reviewed his blog:
FX-14™ Methodology: A Formula for First-Time-Right Success:
GLOBALFOUNDRIES VP of the ASIC product line shares how the team’s rigorous approach to design implementation and methodology were critical factors in achieving first-time silicon success for a major networking customer…
Which was followed by this press release:
GLOBALFOUNDRIES Demonstrates Industry-Leading 56Gbps Long-Reach SerDes on Advanced 14nm FinFET Process Technology.
Santa Clara, Calif., December 13, 2016 – GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced that it has demonstrated true long-reach 56Gbps SerDes performance in silicon on the company’s 14nm FinFET process. As a part of GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ high-performance ASIC offering, FX-14™, the 56Gbps SerDes is designed for customers seeking to improve power and performance efficiency while handling the most demanding long-reach high-performance applications.
During our visit last year the underlying theme of all GF presentations was execution which to me is, “Tell them what you are going to do, do it, then tell them what you did”. One example from Jim’s presentation last year is the SerDes roadmap and yesterday’s 56Gbps SerDes announcement which is a clear example of execution and the IP leadership that GF gained from the IBM ASIC Business Unit. It was clear to Scott and I, then and now, that having a world class ASIC team with more than 2,000 chips completed across 10 process nodes, one of the largest if not THE largest silicon proven IP collection, and scalable leading edge manufacturing under one roof will again bring fierce competition back to the ASIC business, absolutely.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES is a leading full-service semiconductor foundry providing a unique combination of design, development, and fabrication services to some of the world’s most inspired technology companies. With a global manufacturing footprint spanning three continents, GLOBALFOUNDRIES makes possible the technologies and systems that transform industries and give customers the power to shape their markets. GLOBALFOUNDRIES is owned by Mubadala Development Company. For more information, visit www.globalfoundries.com.