GloFo effort may waken the TSMC dragon

The conference Global Foundries (GloFo) is holding here in the Santa Clara Hyatt is for real – I can tell you that.

In many ways it reminded me of the early Intel Developers Forums – buzzy, well attended and serious hard core chip stuff.

One delegate who I won’t name chatted to me outside the convention centre and said that at first he hadn’t really thought GloFo could kick TSMC’s butt, but he thinks differently now.

The conference was oversubscribed – GloFo had to shut the doors at 2,000 delegates and that’s not bad at all.

Right now there’s a heap of parallel streams going on, many of which to be brutally honest are probably beyond my comprehension. But I’ll try to summarise them later on.

At lunchtime, CEO Doug Grose took time out to “meet the press” and answer any questions thrown at him. He also rolled out the wafer shown briefly at the AMD presentation this morning – although his PR minder made sure that none of the Fourth Estate got too close to the actual thing. They wouldn’t want us to drop it, I guess. He’s pictured here – behind him are the apple strudels you can’t see, and on his right is the PR minder who we’ve spared as he’s actually a very nice and effective chap.

GloFo's crowd

I asked a question at lunchtime about the Common Platform – basically this effort is coordinated by IBM and the ultimate aim will be to have all the players in the alliance sync their fab. That must scare the hell out of TSMC.

Grose said that his company will  start ramping 32 nanometre in the first half of next year, primarily, at first for AMD. Its 28 nanometre process will tape out in the fourth quarter of this year, he said. He said that interest in the 28 nanometre node is considerable, and it will be a very long lived node for Global Foundries.

Below is a picture of the exhibition area, showing the throng of people meeting Mentor, Synopsis and the rest.  Is TSMC frightened by all of this? Well TSMC has always kept a relatively low profile while GloFo is really banging the drum with GTC 2010. But no-one should underestimate TSMC and Morris Chang, the virtual father of the foundry business.  Nor, for that matter, should anyone underestimate Nvidia’s Jen-Hsun Huang. AMD.