If they come, we will build it…..

Gartner Dataquest has cut its semiconductor capital spending forecast by an additional 2.6%, projecting a 22.4% decline for 2008. The company said that the foundry investment pattern could change from, “If we build it, they will come,” to “If they come, we will build it.

Now, that’s something to chew on. With the mantra” If we build it, they will come”, foundries like TSMC moved from pure play foundries towards design support (including not just producing their reference design flows but also developing IPs) and later with the advent of DFM, towards further lowering the gray wall between design & manufacturing by providing access to manufacturing data through unified DFM architecture – all to ensure that their expensive fabs don’t run empty. Whatever the critics may say and apart from treading on the feet of different entities, one of the positive outcomes for the overall industry from this is that this process catalyzed collaboration – forcefully or voluntarily. 

Now moving towards “If they come, we will build it”, we need to see how well that bodes for an industry which is facing growing challenges of shorter time to market as well as shorter product life spans, especially in the consumer area.

A tough balance of bringing capacity more in line with demand – not only for existing but also for the mid term – especially in this period of economic gloom and market down turn.

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