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Intel Goes After Broadcom

Intel Goes After Broadcom
by Robert Maire on 04-01-2015 at 1:00 pm

 Intel continues shopping spree with Broadcom
AMAT drops TEL merger due to high remedy cost
Global Foundries wins Apple A9 business at 20nm for 6S & “6C”

Intel follows Altera with Broadcom chaser…..
Sources in the industry have confirmed that Intel is advanced discussions to acquire Broadcom, following closely on the heels of its rumored acquisition of Altera.

Industry sources confirm that this is a broader push by Intel into the foundry space following Intels unsuccessful foray into the mobile market. After it was learned that Altera was going to abandon Intel’s foundry services to go back to TSMC at the 10nm node , Intel decided to use a preemptive strike and acquire Altera.

The logic of acquiring Broadcom follows that same line of reasoning allowing Intel to grow its foundry business through similar acquisitions. While this may be an expensive way to grow business, we would agree with Intel that this is a much more certain way to gain what has been an otherwise elusive foundry business.

In our view it is clear that Intel is following the “Abjad Ordinal” strategy in this regard and we would speculate that Cypress Semiconductor could be next on the list if CEO Brian Krzanich continues to follow this course.


AMAT leaves TEL at the alter….

Applied Materials has announced it has dropped plans to merge with Tokyo Electron. It would appear that the remedy costs became just too high for Applied to bear. It was rumored that US regulators had asked Applied to divest its advanced etch business while still being allowed to retain its trailing edge etch products for 28nm and above. This followed recent decisions coming out of the Chinese regulatory agency restricting Applied’s CMP and Ion implant business units. Though there has been no announcement from Japanese regulators, it can be assumed that they would move against Applied’s thermal business given Japan’s participation in the furnace market.

Facing the prospect of being boxed out of the semiconductor equipment market, the company would be left with the flat panel and solar business units as well as service revenues which would certainly not be financially attractive to the company or investors.

After announcing the surprise move from his new Tokyo office Gary Dickerson, CEO of Applied was asked what his next move would be to which he replied ” 私はディズニーの世界に行くつもりです “.
TEL will be paid a significant breakup fee as a result of the canceled plans and will likely look to other “White Knight ” potential acquirers to restore their virtue.

Apple A9 for both 6S & 6C goes to GloFo
Global Foundries has shocked the industry and leap frogged over both Samsung and TSMC to win Apple’s iPhone processor business. Sources say that the new processor will be manufactured using a 20nm design at slightly larger die size than the previous A8 processor adding on an additional core and GPU. Global Foundries has more than enough, highly yielding, 20nm capacity in its Malta NY fab to cover Apples entire needs. This will now also include an updated version of the A8 processor, also at 20nm, aimed at the new , lower cost iPhone 6C also due out in the fall at the same time as the 6S.

This gives Apple a 100% US based supply of the critical components and takes business away from “frenemy” Samsung. It is rumored that the decision to do a less aggressive version of the A9 was made after the launch of Samsungs latest phone was found to be severely lacking and thus no threat to Apple’s franchise.

Though there has been no official comment out of either Apple or Global Foundries it is suspected that GloFo is paying a licensing fee of roughly $20 per unit to Apple for the rights to manufacture & supply the chips to Apple.


ASML makes EUV power breakthrough…

Following the recent announcement at SPIE of the pellicle “pop top” which allows for the critical inspection of the reticle used to print semiconductor devices, ASML has announced another breakthrough technology which appears to have solved a major road block in the generation of high EUV power.

The problem up to this point has been the issue of debris mitigation on the “collector”, the parabolic shaped reflector which collects and directs the EUV energy produced by laser annihilation of molten tin droplets. Debris issues have limited power levels and service up time. ASML has introduced a new system in which a new “disposable” collector is swapped in at the same time that the next wafer is also swapped in thereby not impacting system throughput.

The new collector handling system also eliminates the potential of contamination by robotic handling as it is done with a unique “no touch” method. The new collector is rotated at an adequate velocity to create lift to float it into place much like a child’s frisbee toy. Additionally, the new collectors cost will be kept very low as ASML has outsourced their manufacture to Asian cookware manufacturer Iamawok. In the press release, ASML’s CEO Peter Wennink said “This will allow us to finally achieve our long term goal of 1000 wafers per month”

By Robert Maire
Semiconductor Advisors LLC



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