Tag: abu dhabi

Nokia shoots itself in both pheet

Ailing phone company Nokia – now a subsidiary of Microsoft – appears to have looked in the mirror and seen a distorted image of reality after it launched a $500 tablet in Abu Dhabi.

The tablet, named the Lumia 2520, has a 10 inch screen and runs Windows RT. It also includes LTE, if that’s anywhere near you yet.

At the same conference, Nokia-Microsoft introduced three cheap handsets and two absolutely “phabless” phones. The Lumia 1520 and 1320 also run Windows software, with the former set to cost a staggering $750.

Stephen Elop, the former head of Nokia and tipped by some to take over from Steve Ballmer at Vole, came out with a platitude of some size when he said that the Lumia portfolio is growing.  When we say growing, perhaps he meant going, it was hard to hear the din  from this distance.

Presumably Elop has heard of something called the bill of materials….

Nokia readies Abu Dhabi tablet launches

Microsoft subsidiary Nokia will introduce six products at a conference in Abu Dhabi in a bit to spoil Apple’s expected launch of an iPad tomorrow.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the six devices includes a tablet computer and some “phablets” – what a horrid word.

Stephen Elop – tipped by some as a replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer – will host the event.

The tablet Nokia will show off is expected to include LTE and that might give it a chance to compete with Apple.

Nokia, Microsoft must be hoping, will give it some momentum in the market for tablets following its disastrous launch of the Surface RT.

Globalfoundries gives up on Abu Dhabi fab

The main owner of GlobalFoundries has decided not to start construction of a new megafab in the deserts of Abu Dhabi after all.

Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), blames uncertain global economic outlook for the delay, but it is fairly obvious that problems with its main customer AMD as well as imminent move to 450mm wafers must also have something to do with it.

Ground breaking on the project was supposed to take place next year with chips rolling out of the plant in 2015. But Ibrahim Ajami, the chief executive officer of ATIC, in an interview with The National, that the global economy still very volatile. It will have another look a the plan at the end of 2012.

However world economic events will have been expected to have resolved themselves by 2015, so the only thing that can really be bothering GloFo is that by that date its relationship with AMD will be forgotten and its new megafab will have no customers. GloFo has state-of-the-art fabs in Dresden, Germany and New York, USA.

AMD cancelled two accelerated processing units (APUs) that were supposed to be made at GF’s leading-edge 28nm HKMG process technology. AMD is also not sticking its GPUs at Globalfoundries at 28nm node.

Without these big orders, a superfab is pointless and GloFo will not need to expand capacity.

On the positive side, GloFo might be thinking that it is pointless building another 300mm wafer fab when the consensus is that a move to 450mm is inevitable.

Ibrahim Ajami said Globalfoundries and ATIC and Globalfoundries were still committed to Abu Dhabi and would definitely look at restarting the project in 2012. 

ATIC, GloFo, AMD have Abu Dhabi Llano love-in

ATIC, the Middle Eastern parent company and prime investor of GlobalFoundries, has been busy talking up how well AMD fits into life in Abu Dhabi.

Advanced Technology Investment Company, or ATIC, is an – er – investment company owned by the Mubadala Development Company. That in turn is the government of Abu Dhabi’s prime investment powerhouse and has Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince, as its chairman. 

Spokespeople were keen to demonstrate the 32nm APU Llano at Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World conference.  But it sounds more like it was high-fives all round as reps from GloFo, AMD and ATIC gushed over each other. Rick Bergman, General Manager of AMD’s product group was there to give a presentation about Llano while “highlighting the role” of GloFo in bringing the APUs out.

Jim Ballingall, a marketing vice president at GloFo, said the money it gets from ATIC is “reshaping the landscape of the entire semiconductor industry,” before patting AMD on the back with Llano, talking about the first High-k Metal Gate product to be produced by any foundry.

Ibrahim Ajami, ATIC’s CEO,  underlined the importance of the semiconductor industry to Abu Dhabi. Speaking, presumably, to some other delegates as well as his friends in AMD and GloFo, he said that ATIC really is driving advances in technology to suit the customer and the market. Llano is undisputable proof that the Mubadala, AMD, GloFo and ATIC tie is a good one.

Ferrari World, where the three met, is the world’s first and largest indoor Ferrari-themed amusement park.

AMD forces Global Foundries to commit to 32nm wafers

Fab-free firm Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has decided to “redefine” its relationship with GlobalFoundries (GloFo) so that everyone completely understands how transparent the relationship is. The relationship is, as the world+dog knows, as clear as mud.

In a statement, AMD said it had “amended” – read change – its relationship with GloFo on pricing for wafers delivered this year for CPUs and for graphics processing units (GPUs) and for chipsets, too. That could spell a design lose for Taiwanese foundry giant TSMC, TechEye understands.

GloFo has pledged, said AMD, to provide it with a “fixed number” of 45 nanometre and 32 nanometre wafers every quarter during this year.  AMD said, as if to warn GloFo – it wants “good die”.

AMD will gain a  cool half a billion US greenbacks if GloFo squares up to the commitment, a mysterious statement.  In signs of a rift between the two companies, AMD said it will only pay GloFo during 2012 if the megafoundry meets unnamed “specified conditions” related to 32 nanometre capacity beginning in 2012.

AMD will pay GloFo between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion this year, and could pay nearly $2 billion next year.

AMD will make half a billion out of this rather odd SEC related transaction, although the deal is far from transparent.

GloFo made no comments at press time.  AMD is a public company so will report to Wall Street tomorrow. GloFo is a private company.

Informed sources told TechEye  that AMD gets better pricing at the 32 nanometre level based on yields, which are looking pretty good. It is a return to an old pricing model.  GloFo will win business from TSMC on this basis on fabbing up the graphics stuff.

No one knows what is in the heart of an accountant.  The gain for AMD is in “write offf” territory, another source at Sunnyvale said.  ♣

AMD: Ripe for a takeover, perhaps

Over the last few years AMD has been getting rid of a lot of things – not just fabs to GlobalFoundries – but stripping down its employee levels and, latterly, removing three senior executives from its highest ranks.

AMD is apparently looking for someone to replace ex-CEO Dirk Meyer – he apparently wasn’t doing well enough, although letting him go at a time when the company could really make hay while Intel got its knickers in a twist seems to indicate a certain lack of, er, strategy.

AMD’s future, it vows, is Fusion and we’re likely to see machines with Llano microprocessors in Autumn, when that falls due. It really is unclear what AMD’s future is – if it has a strategy it’s not telling anyone what it is while it thrashes around trying to form a view on its arch-rival Intel, the 80 percent mammoth on the printed circuit board.

Some think that AMD is prepping itself for a takeover, but if that’s the case, who the heck would want to buy it? It finds itself in something of a dilemma because people that make smartphones are not particularly interested in having anything X86 driving it when there’s so much ARM stuff about and so much Android OSes to put on it.

Does Intel have any design wins for its Atom range of chips for smartphones? If it has, it is keeping conspicuously mum about it. Even X86 applications do not have that formidable legacy factor they once have – smartphones do so much these days that only those hemmed in by corporate diktats of the past need to tote round their notebooks and their Crackberrys or whatever.

But if AMD is ready for takeover, it’s hard to figure out who would want it.  Someone suggested HP might be interested – not sure that one sings at all  – what would it get out of a deal like that?

Perhaps we should look a little bit further than the US of A. We note that Waleed A. Al Muhairi is a director of the AMD board since March 2009. He is the chairman of Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi government. ATIC, of course, now owns GlobalFoundries (GloFo) while Al Mhairi is a director of a number of other companies. He used to work at McKinsey. GloFo is not going to want to take over AMD – heck, it’s doing quite nicely and wouldn’t want one of its customers to be an albatross around its neck.

There could also be mileage in an Asian company taking over AMD. Perhaps a Chinese firm could be interested in being an X86 player and joining Via and Intel as the Holy X86 trinity.

It’s clear from the outside that AMD has to do something and quick – right now it looks like a rudderless company with no clear direction ahead. No doubt its rivals at Intel are looking at it the same way and secretly chuckling at the predicament its smaller rival presents.

Abu Dhabi sees GloFo investment push

Globalfoundries is getting a shot in the arm in Abu Dhabi. Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), the United Arab Emirates government agency that puts backing behind GloFo, wants to see some serious growth in the region.

GlobalFoundries has plans for a $6 billion dollar plant near Masdar City. With a commitment of $10 billion investments from ATIC, including $3.6 billion for the expansion of existing plants, it’s looking likely that GloFo will reach targets in the region and climb to second place in terms of revenue in the region. Currently it is behind TSMC and United MicroElectronics. 

It’s expected there will be up to 6,000 jobs created for the people of Abu Dhabi over the next decade, according to sources in the Gulf

Semiconductor Research Corporation has also signed an agreement with ATIC. Both are working together to strengthen relationships between researchers in Abu Dhabi and firmly securing the United Arabs Emirates as a global technology player once the oil runs dry.  SRC, along with member companies, are set to ramp up research activities in Abu Dhabi, partnered with educational institutions near the capital. Research will be mostly sponsored by ATIC and into the development of low power microelectronics. Financial terms were not disclosed but we’d wager a fair few bob has been committed.

Sami Issa, the ATIC exec responsible for ecosystem development in Abu Dhabi, said in a statement: “The development of Abu Dhabi as a hub for leading-edge semiconductor capabilities, research and development is enabling the emirate to diversify its economy away from dependence on oil and gas. ATIC is working on developing an R&D ecosystem for advanced technology, and our partnership with SRC is a definite step in thsi direction.”

Elsewhere in the Middle East, on the other side of Saudi Arabia, is Intel’s heavy investment into research and development facilities, and fabs,  in Israel. 

ATIC to build $7 billion chip plant in Abu Dhabi

Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) is to spend $7 billion on building a new chip manufacturing plant in the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi.

ATIC, a UAE government-owned firm, will make the substantial investment in a new fabrication facility that will produce 12-inch wafers. This will be the first chip manufacturing facility in the country, giving the region a major boost to its technology sector.

ATIC’s CEO, Ibrahim Ajami, revealed the news in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, saying that the new factory should be fully up and running by 2014 or 2015.

Ajami also stated that ATIC is on the lookout for other companies to acquire, both within and outside the chip manufacturing business. In 2009 it bought the Singapore-based Chartered Semiconductor firm for $1.8 billion. 

It is also jointly invested in Global Foundries with AMD, but the news that it wants to build its own production plant suggests it plans to expand its business and become more independent of and less reliant on its business partners.

Battle is on in semiconductor "war of the worlds"

In a few hours Global Foundries (GloFo) will launch a full day forum here in Satan Clara intended to stamp its presence indelibly on the semiconductor market.

GloFo – the spun off division of AMD – and vastly funded by money from the Gulf, is expected to announce a number of further initiatives given by Abu Dhabi to project the sheikhdom as a future centre of semiconductor excellence. For GloFo, the enemy is the number one Taiwanese foundry in the world, not Intel.

In Taiwan, earlier this year, the CEO of ATIC told TechEye that he was resolutely going to pitch Abu Dhabi as the first Middle Eastern place for a fab to be built. As much of the money ATIC, an arm of the government, has plunged into GloFo, we would not be surprised if an announcement will be made. Abu Dhabi may not be quite ready so it will be projected into the future.

In talks with various people in Silicon Valley today, it’s become apparent that Abu Dhabi does have a long term view of the future in terms of semiconductors, medicine, bio and the like. A source close to Intel said that it had been approached by governments in the Gulf to assist its progress on the semiconductor and medical fronts.

Nevertheless, ATIC has already plunged billions into ensuring GloFo is a viable engine for the semiconductor future. We’re also reliably informed that there are no “IP issues” any more between Intel and GloFo.

Indeed, we kind of get the coded message that Intel approves of competition between another foundry and the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), with which the chip giant has a relationship.

An unattributable source told me today that the real question is whether GloFo has the expertise to draw in the other members of the alliance, apart from IBM and AMD, to bring its plans to market.

Another unattributable source close to GloFo told me that it has little doubt it can achieve its goals.

TechEye will be covering the conference, in some detail, from tomorrow. Or today, as it is in the UK but not in Silicon Valley – later.

Reading between the runes, it seems that both Intel and GloFo have mutual respect for each other. Not that Intel dislikes TSMC, it can’t, let’s be realistic. But it welcomes another player to soak up the demand for chips.

Chips and the internet are simply not going to go away, barring a global catastrophe.

ATIC plunges $3.5 billion more into GloFo

Global Foundries (GloFo) said today that it has obtained more investment from its owner ATI (Advanced Technology Investment Company) to expand its fabrication plants.

Doug Grose, the CEO of GloFo (pictured left), said at a press conference here in Taiwan that it will increase capacity at its Dresden Fab 1 to increase overall output to 80,000 wafers a month for 45, 40 and 28 nanometre capacities. It will also expand the clean room shell at its New York Fab 8 to deliver 60,000 wafers a month for 20, 22, and 28 nanometre capacities.

TechEye understands the total investment will amount to close to $3.5 billion.

Fab 8 in New York State will make the cleanroom shell 300,000 square feet, while Fab 1 will involve building a new facility of 110,000 square feet to produce the 80,000 wafers in the space of two years.

But the CEO of ATIC, Ibrahim Ajami, also has ambition plans for Abu Dhabi. He said the Abu Dhabi government in conjunction with ATIC has an ambitious scheme to build a semiconductor cluster in a facility next to the airport.

He said: “Abu Dabhi has the fifth largest reserve of gas and the sixth largest reserve of oil in the world. But oil is not infinite and one day it will run out which is why we’ve created the Abu Dhabi vision for 2030.”

That plan, he said included investment in aviation and aerospace, in tourism, in telecomms, in oil and gas, in semiconductors and in renewable energy.

“Global Foundries is key that strategy,” he said. “Our plan is to bring the semiconductor industry to Abu Dhabi one day.” He said: “We will not build a semiconductor fab in Abu Dhabi tomorrow. First, we’ll build and invest in Global Foundries and we’ll also invest in Abu Dhabi over the next five years.” Part of that plan is to build up the educational and technological infrastructure required. Global Foundries will be at the heart of that.” He said: “We’ll build a semiconductor polytechnic in Abu Dhabi.”

Those plans, he said, are complementary to the investments ATIC is making in Dresden, Singapore and New York. Ajami said that he wouldn’t rule out further acquisitions but Grose said that there were no plans to make such acquisitions in the short term.

Earlier this year, rumours bubbled that ATIC planned to acquire the second largest foundry in Taiwan after TSMC, UMC. TSMC, Grose acknowledged, is its biggest competitor.