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Chief Operating Officer
FENA and WIN Centers, UCLA
In kicking off 2008, we have seen some interesting plays within the semiconductor industry. IBM marching with EUV, Cisco leading the CPU core count and French President Nicolas Sarkozy becoming a nanoelectronic mogul.
March 6th, 2008
IBM, Cisco and Sarkozy Updates
In kicking off 2008, we have seen some interesting plays within the semiconductor industry. Just a few days ago Gartner (as well as iSuppli) corrected its estimate of overall IC market growth from 6.2 percent in 2008 (over 2007) to 3.4 percent quoting US economic slowdown. Such poor growth wont help an already ailing industry, hence I suspect consolidation of some vulnerable players such as AMD and Freescale. Rumors surfaced of IBM planning to purchase AMD, but the news frizzled and official announcements surface that indicated closer collaboration between AMD and IBM that will cost AMD over $400 million to tap into IBM's know-how. Good timing, since IBM recently announced it had successfully produced a working test chip using next-generation Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography for the critical first layer of metal connections across an entire chip.
EUV development is seen to be critical to enable CMOS scaling beyond the 22nm node. Intel on this front is lagging since its long awaited R&D EUV lithography tool from Nikon has still not arrived. SEMATECH is also diversifying its development front by recently including a serious nanoimprint litho program using Molecular Imprint tools.
Other news of interest includes Cisco to debut a router that packs a custom 40-core processor. This reaffirms the trend of ever increasing cores in future microprocessors that I predict will asymptote to nearest neighbor systems cellular automata architectures. In comparison Intel Sandy Bridge processor planned for release in 2010 will employ 22nm node technology with a core count from 8-32.
On the entertainment front, while Sarkozy was busy suing Europe's largest low-cost carrier, RyanAir for 1M EURO, he also approved a 2.85-percent stake in STMicroelectronics for $386 million, making him a mogul in the nanoelectronic/semiconductor industry.