TSMC set to become a chip monopolist

Taiwanese foundry TSMC has enough money and clout to end up a monopolist by 2020, a senior chip analyst has warned.

Malcolm Penn. CEO of Future Horizons, who has run a fab himself, said that TSMC was perfectly prepared to produce its semiconductors on 450 millimetre wafers without the agreement of the rest of the industry.

But, said Penn, that would end up effectively giving TSMC the ability to price semiconductors at 40 percent below the rest of the industry, effectively giving it a monopoly.

Penn said that he had every admiration for TSMC, and industry squabbles meant that the company would effectively plough its own furrow in the market.

Penn, in particular, had very unkind words to say about trade semiconductor associations. They, he said, should be talking to all the industry players including the equipment makers and attempting to square the circle.

Equipment makers and foundries should be cooperating, said Penn, rather than “squabbling like schoolkids”.

The hard facts were that it would cost so much money to move to 450 millimetre wafers that it made sense for everyone to cooperate rather than quibble about details.