Globalfoundries Gains Qualcomm as a Customer

Globalfoundries, the chip manufacturing company created in 2009 when it was spun off by AMD, is entering into a deal to build some of Qualcomm's mobile chip products. The move will make Qualcomm the largest customer for Globalfoundries aside from AMD. The company already has STMicroelectronics as a customer.

Globalfoundries, the chip manufacturing business spun out in 2009 by Advanced Micro Devices, is continuing to move beyond AMD by entering into a deal with mobile chip maker Qualcomm.

The memorandum of understanding between the two companies, announced Jan. 7, makes Qualcomm Globalfoundries' largest customer outside of AMD.

Globalfoundries currently has STMicroelectronics as a customer, though that company operates some of its own fabs as well. Qualcomm is a fabless company, working instead with a variety of foundry partners in a strategy it calls IFM (Integrated Fabless Manufacturing).

That strategy ensures Qualcomm a reliable supply of products and gives the company flexibility to adapt depending on customer demands, according to Qualcomm officials.

The deal with Globalfoundries will give Qualcomm access to low-power 45-nanometer and 28-nm technologies. Globalfoundries will build products focusing on Qualcomm's wireless businesses, including for products that support its CDMA2000, WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) and 4g/LTE wireless standards.

Globalfoundries and Qualcomm also will partner in other areas, such as die-package interaction and three-dimensional packaging technologies.

The companies say Globalfoundries will begin getting Qualcomm designs at its fab in Dresden, Germany, sometime in 2010.

Its has been a busy year for Globalfoundries since spinning off from AMD. The company has broken ground on a $4.2 billion fabricating facility in upstate New York, and brought in STMicroelectronics as a customer.

In addition, Globalfoundries is buying Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing for $1.8 billion, which analysts say will make Globalfoundries a more competitive rival to the Taiwan-based manufacturers.