UMC licenses IBM tech for mobile chips

Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corporation taps on Big Blue's knowhow to accelerate development of chips for mobile computing and communication products, report states.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Taiwanese chip foundry United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) said it will co-develop semiconductors using 20-nanometer (nm) technology with IBM, so as to quicken efforts to supply customers with next-generation chips.

Taipei Times reported last Saturday that according to a filing submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, the contract chip maker had "licensed IBM technology to expedite the development of the foundry's next-generation 20nm CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) process with FinFET 3D transistors".

FinFET, or FinField-effect-transistor, refers to a three-dimensional, fin-based multigate transistor architecture, which allows for space-optimized, energy-efficient transistors design.

The added capabilities will help UMC accelerate the development of chip designs for mobile computing and communication products, the report said.

"We are happy to engage with a recognized technology leader such as IBM for this technology advancement effort," I.C. Chen, vice president of UMC's advanced technology development division, said in the filing. "Leveraging IBM's technology expertise to shorten our 20nm and FinFET R&D cycle will create a win-win situation for UMC and our customers."

According to Taipei Times, UMC's agreement with IBM applies only to the latter's 20nm CMOS and FinFET technologies. Financial details of the licensing deal were not disclosed, it added.

It also said UMC declined comment on whether it received orders from U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm to manufacture Snapdragon S4 processors using 28nm technology. This comes after news that rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) was reportedly facing capacity constraints in supplying 28nm chips to Qualcomm, it noted.

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