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Infineon affirms move to 'fab-lite' strategy

Posted: 05 Dec 2005     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Infineon Technologies  90nm  fab-lite 

Infineon Technologies AG Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Ziebart affirmed last week (Dec. 1) that the company will not build manufacturing capacity below the 90nm node, migrating to a "fab-lite" strategy.

In a phone interview with EE Times, Ziebart, as others have done, openly wondered how many companies would ever operate their own 65nm, 300mm fabs. Ziebart mentioned Intel Corp. and possibly Texas Instruments Inc., but suggested that few—if any—other companies have sufficient demand to justify the Rs.18,260 crores ($4 billion) to Rs.22,825 crores ($5 billion) dollar expense associated with a 65nm fab.

Ziebart made it clear that Infineon plans to continue operating existing fabs in Germany, France and Malaysia. Ziebart said the company expects the technologies manufactured within those fabs will be in use for "quite a while."

Infineon announced an expansion of its silicon foundry relationship with Singapore's Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte. Ltd. in mid-November, by which Chartered will handle Infineon's 65nm manufacturing needs. Infineon, Chartered, IBM and Samsung have a strategic agreement in place covering 65- and 45-nm technology development.

Speculation at that time was that the company might move to a full-fledged fabless model.

Also Tuesday, Ziebart refuted a story, recently published in the German newspaper Suddeutschen Zeitung and reported by EE Times, which suggested that the company's plans to spin out its DRAM unit might not necessarily mean taking that entity public. Ziebart said Infineon has settled on the IPO strategy for the DRAM unit, targeting the offering toward the middle of next year.

He did acknowledge that negative market conditions or other factors at that time could cause the company to delay the IPO or consider alternatives.

- Dylan McGrath
EE Times

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