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The Quatro 4230 processor is the only single-chip solution that embeds a high-performance CPU for processing printer languages,” Epstein said, and supports complete color multifunction peripheral functionality for products with performance up to 20 color pages per minute.”

Sure. Silicon foundries enable fabless chip makers and IDMs leading-edge manufacturing capacity. And there are a plethora of interesting stories out there.

Foundry giant TSMC is one of the miracles in the IC business. SMIC is fascinating to watch. All eyes are on Samsung’s new foundry efforts. IBM is a bust in the foundry business for now. And so on.

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But there’s more hype than profits in the sector. The foundry model is turning out to be a boom for the fabless chip houses, but it’s become a bust and money-losing proposition for the foundries themselves.

Except for TSMC, UMC and a few others, nearly all foundries are losing money and will never see a profit. There is simply too much foundry capacity in the market today and the foreseeable future.

In 2005, it was a bad year for the foundry industry, as worldwide sales hit 18.4 billion last year, down 2.5 percent over 2004, according to Gartner. For the first time, the foundry market fell while overall semiconductor sales grew in 2005, according to the firm, which also listed its rankings for last year.

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March 24, 2006

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Here’s some thoughts and commentary from curmudgeon EET.com editor Mark LaPedus on various subjects: Intel’s equipment awards, X-Fab/1st Silicon merger, Samsung’s foundry efforts, LSI Logic and ASML.

Intel’s list

DRAM vendors consolidate rankings in Q3

Taiwan moves up in Q3 DRAM rankings

Samsung losing share in flash rankings

Nvidia raises share in graphics chip rankings

IC Insight’s projected foundry rankings for 2005

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