Chipmaker TSMC says that it is getting more orders from analogue chip makers who want to use its 12 inch wafer production.
TSMC is upgrading to 12-inch, 90nm and even 65nm processes and the vendors are negotiating capacity with it so that they can narrow the gap in production scale with Texas Instruments.
If TSMC can build larger wafers, with more chips on them, the analogue chipmakers can improve their economies of scale to compete.
Texas Instruments increased its analog chip production at its 12-inch RFAB at the end of last year and now plans to buy National Semiconductor. If it manages to do this it will expand its leadership in the global market for analog ICs and leave other suppliers in the dust because it can make larger numbers much cheaper.
The suppliers banging on TSMC’s door are focused on the “cheap and cheerful” market
Taiwan-based outfits are more focused on lower-end segments, they have only recently looked to transition to 8-inch, 0.35-micron production. This means that they could be extremely vulnerable to Texas Instruments getting huge numbers of cheaper and better quality chips onto the market.