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Fabless Semiconductor Milestones of 2014!

Fabless Semiconductor Milestones of 2014!
by Daniel Nenni on 12-28-2014 at 9:00 am

After working in the semiconductor industry for the past thirty years and writing about it for the past six I would say that 2014 was one of the more interesting years of late. Vindication is the word that pops into my mind now that many “predictions” the fabless detractors have made over the last three years were proven wrong.

As a student of history I think it is important to look at the past to better prepare for the future which is one of the reasons why I blog. Blogging also enabled us to write our book on the history of the fabless semiconductor industry. To take a look back, SemiWiki members can click on the company names or industries (categories) in the header of the blog summaries to see what we have written on that company or market segment. You can also click on the author to see what each of us have written, simple as that.

In 2014 814 blogs were published on SemiWiki bringing the total to 2134 written by 42 different people. According to Google, SemiWiki has recorded 1,245,650 unique viewers since going online in 2011. The big data (analytics) behind all of this activity is truly amazing.

2014 also brought my 30th wedding anniversary which my beautiful wife and I celebrated in Hawaii. She runs the financial side of SemiWiki and edits everything I write. 30 more years is going to be no problem at all.

 Some of the top viewed blogs I wrote in 2014 include:


  • GLOBALFOUNDRIES Acquires IBM Semiconductor Unit!
  • Intel Core M vs Apple A8!
  • Is Intel the Concorde of Semiconductor Companies?
  • TSMC Responds to Intel’s 14nm Density Claim!
  • TSMC vs Intel vs Samsung FinFETs
  • Who is Using Samsung 14nm?
  • More Apple A9 Ridiculousness!
  • Who will Manufacture Apple’s Next SoC?
  • TSMC Updates: 20nm, 16nm, and 10nm!
  • Samsung 14nm is the one delayed!

    I agree with this ranking 100%. The GF/IBM deal was by far the most exciting thing to happen in 2014. I have written about GF 46 times over the last 5 years and the IBM acquisition blog was viewed 5 times more than the average. It really could be a game changer for the fabless semiconductor industry. The pure-play foundry business model is what delivered supercomputing to our fingertips (literally) so that business model must continue at all costs. Seriously, IDM foundries do not have our collective best interests in mind as history has clearly shown.

    The most controversial event was the release of the TSMC 20nm A8 and A8x making Apple one of the leading fabless semiconductor companies. Not only was this Apple’s first pure-play foundry chip it was also the first time Apple designed two SoCs, one for the iPhone and a higher performance version for the iPads. Even though South Korea press said this would be a Samsung chip we all knew it would be TSMC and it would yield in time for the iPhone6 launch in Q3 2014. The other thing the A8 brought was a fresh perspective on the Intel process density superiority claims.

    The word vindication also comes to mind since so called industry experts claimed that 20nm would not be in high volume production “until 2015 but mostly 2016”. People also doubted the foundries would produce FinFETs in 2015 and one gentleman predicted that it wouldn’t happen until 2017 and 10nm would also be delayed. Clearly that is not the case so congratulations to the hard working people of the fabless semiconductor ecosystem that proved experts, competitors and the outside media wrong, absolutely.

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