07 June 2012

Herding cats

Malcolm Penn's substantial report considering whether Europe should dip its toes into the 450mm pond has now been published.
His conclusion is that the EC should stump up some $3billion to seed the construction of a European shared 450mm fab – and hence spawn industry collaboration.

He says a 450mm shared fab would not only allow Europe to leapfrog to the forefront of chip manufacturing technology, it would also offer greater security of supply, lower cost [and] 'a vital home base' for Europe's equipment and materials industry and advanced research centres. It will be, the report concludes, a real 'win-win' scenario.
The report is a fine piece of work. It took 14 months to compile and involved face to face interviews around the world. But it may well be all for naught unless Europe's semiconductor companies can be convinced to collaborate and, as I've said before, that's the equivalent of herding cats – and particularly uncooperative cats at that.

Graham Pitcher

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