Thought for the month

"There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen" Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. 1870 – 1924

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

IBM - "Innovation Beats Manufacturing"?

In a month where IBM's commitment and achievements in research were to the fore (eg Silicon Nanophotonics) Big Blue's future within the wafer fab and manufacturing arena was questioned (IBM moving to fab lite - research heavy?). The huge costs associated with modern fab facilities appear to be the driving force behind IBM increasingly relying on Samsung and GlobalFoundries for its manufacturing, leaving it to focus on the IP generating research. An examination of capital expenditure data from Gartner reveals that the last time IBM spent more than $1 billion on semiconductor capital expenditure in one year was 2004, when it was the 11th biggest spender. IBM is not in the top 20 of semiconductor capital expenditure in 2010 and nor is it expected to be in the top 20 in 2011. Fab-lite, research heavy is the description being now applied to the company. By way of comparison, Samsung is expected to spend $9.2 Billion on capital expenditure in 2011.

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