Online information source for semiconductor professionals

Editor's Blog

The blog is written by Semiconductor Fabtech's Editor-in-Chief, Mark Osborne. Mark is also the Senior News Editor for Photovoltaics International and the PV-Tech website. He has launched multiple technology titles in print and online covering manufacturing in the automotive, shipping, semiconductor and solar sectors in a publishing career spanning three decades. Mark started blogging in 2005, the first technology editor to do so and has worked online since 1996. A veteran manufacturing technology journalist and editor, Mark as been responsible for a series of innovative formats for delivering technical content to an engineering-based audience.

Is Samsung on path to succeed Intel as top semiconductor firm?

30 July 2010
The latest semiconductor company rankings from IC insights for the first-half of 2010 show that with the strong performance from memory manufacturers and in particular segment leader Samsung, the gap between number one ranked, Intel and number 2 ranked Samsung has shrunk rapidly. Read more >>

IC industry capacity consolidation

17 June 2010
Bill McClean, IC InsightsIC Insights keeps a close watch on IC capacity trends as an indicator of future IC ASPs and overall IC industry strength. Since 2Q07, IC suppliers have been paring down their older capacity (i.e., ≤200mm wafers). The decline in ≤200mm capacity picked up speed in 2009 and is expected to continue throughout 2010 as memory manufacturers steadily close or upgrade their 200mm fabs to produce 300mm wafers. Read more >>

Micron re-enters NOR flash business

11 February 2010
Jim Handy, Objective AnalysisGuest blog by Jim Handy, Objective Analysis

Late Tuesday Micron announced that the company had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Numonyx in an all-stock transaction.  Micron will issue 140 million shares of the company's common stock, worth approximately $1.27 billion, to Numonyx shareholders Intel, STMicroelectronics, and Francisco Partners. The NOR flash market has been a difficult one for nearly all participants.  Read more >>

Bill McClean, IC Insights: 10 Reasons to be optimistic about the IC industry in 2010

05 February 2010
Are you uncertain about the 2010 IC industry recovery? It may help to consider these actual data points and current expectations that offer support for an increasingly positive outlook for the IC industry this year. The 10 points listed should provide the reader with some encouragement with regard to the IC industry and its suppliers in 2010. Is it clear skies and smooth sailing for the rest of the year? Not, quite. Some potential “pot holes” on the road to 2010 success include: a possible spike in oil prices to greater than US$100 barrel; a major terrorist attack that weakens consumer confidence and the economy along with it; and/or, another major shock to the financial system like a major collapse of a country’s economy. Read more >>

RIP, R&D: New innovation models taking hold as semiconductor industry‚??s R&D progress slows

14 January 2010
Guest blog by Tod Higinbotham, Executive Vice President, Process Solutions, ATMI

The recent economic downturn has taught us that semiconductor technology research and development must change if the industry is to prosper.  Circuit design, advanced materials, and innovative process and process flows compel our industry to rethink outdated R&D techniques as we search for a better way to realize the potential of today’s most advanced integrated circuit technology. Read more >>

Bill McClean, IC Insights: The ‚??Reset‚?Ě Economy and the 2010 IC Industry

06 January 2010
Bill McClean President IC Insights In 4Q08, General Electric’s chief executive Jeff Immelt coined the term “reset economy.”  He used this phrase in an attempt to describe what he expected to be a very different world after the global economic crisis came to an end as compared to before the meltdown.  His belief was that businesses, governments, and consumers would operate very differently in the post-crisis economy and that GE needed to adjust to this new environment. Read more >>

What has Applied Materials raided from Semitool?

26 November 2009
On the surface (pun intended) there would seem to be of little interest or need to know more about the recent acquisition by Applied Materials of a small cap semiconductor equipment supplier, Semitool. The Montana-based wet processing specialist has been around for a long-time and perhaps because of where it is based, compared with many equipment suppliers clustered in Silicon Valley, it gets little attention in comparison. However, solar cell producers may well find that they get a knock on the cleanroom door soon from Applied, to discuss porous silicon processes and a wet processing tool called the ‘Raider.’ Read more >>

Out with the old fabs and in with the new - not

23 November 2009
The impact of the latest semiconductor industry downturn goes further downstream than the red ink on the balance sheets. According to SEMI’s World Fab Forecast updated recently, 19 fabs closed in 2008 and as many as 31 facilities are expected to have closed by the end of 2009. Read more >>

Foundry fun and games continue

11 November 2009
Waleed Al MuhairiWhen I recently highlighted the changes and dynamics at play in the foundry space, I never expected the recent TSMC/SMIC legal spat to result in the exit of SMIC founder Richard Chang and TSMC taking a significant 10% stake in the Chinese foundry. That coupled to the early exit of Hector Ruiz from GlobalFoundries and its ultimate parent, in the name of Abu Dhabi Sate declaring it would have a fab built in the country in the next four years, all points to the foundry fun and games continuing. Read more >>

No double booking - yet!

29 October 2009
It’s all looking good, according to iSuppli. The market research firm hailed the news that there isn’t any double booking going on at chip manufacturers and fabless companies that may dilute the strong quarterly earnings currently being posted in the industry. Global chip revenue amounted to US$58.3 billion in the third quarter, up 10.6% from US$52.8 billion in the second quarter, based on iSuppli’s preliminary forecast. Read more >>