Tuesday, March 06, 2012

GlobalFoundries buys out remaining AMD stake

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GlobalFoundries picked Monday to say it had bought out AMD's remaining stake in its manufacturing. The mutually agreed deal now puts the chip production firm entirely in the control of Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), the company that had originally orchestrated the split. GlobalFoundries could now act independently and wouldn't be bound to making AMD processor, although there were no immediate intentions to stop.

GlobalFoundries no longer has an exclusive on AMD Fusion chips made on a 28 nanometer process. In exchange, AMD is paying $425 million, $150 million of which is being paid immediately with the rest paid in $50 million increments in three- to four-month intervals.

Originally focused on x86 processors from its former owner AMD, GlobalFoundries in its split has been focusing more on ARM processors as smartphones and tablets grow in importance. It currently ships primarily 32 nanometer processors to AMD, but it has been moving to 28 nanometers on ARM processors. Among the demos has been a 2.5GHz ARM Cortex-A9 and a smartphone-friendly, lower-powered 2GHz approach.

Independence could see it a more obvious alternative to Samsung, TSMC, or others that often face tight supplies or possible conflicts of interest with customers. Its 28 nanometer production might be of interest to Apple and others that aren't tied to any one company.

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