Insights From Leading Edge

IFTLE 322 SEMI ISS 2017: A Period of Uncertainty?

By Dr. Phil Garrou, Contributing Editor

SEMI’s annual Industry Strategy Symposium was held at its usual site, Half Moon Bay, CA a few weeks ago.

It may just be me, but it seemed like this year’s overall message was one of an industry searching. IFTLE thinks the end of scaling and the public indications that 450mm does not appear to be moving forward has left the industry wandering a bit. Yes, there is excitement over IoT, but the exact way that this will play out in terms of low cost connectivity solutions and the inherent security dangers are not yet clear. For an industry that for the past few decades has had everything laid out on roadmaps this may be a bit disconcerting, but to IFTLE it is now significantly more exciting because the future is not as clear.

Is the following the semiconductor roadmap for the future?


With that said, here are some of the highlights of 2017 ISS from IFTLE perspective.

Linx Consulting

Corbett of Linx Consulting looked at the state of the wafer fab materials segment. They indicated that the total market for semiconductor materials in 2015 was $18.5B with most of the top players being in the wafer and gas businesses.

linx 1

The top 11 supplies have ~$12B sales. Removing the wafer suppliers leaves the following top 10 suppliers with categories of materials broken out as follows.

linx 2


As IFTLE said many years ago, consolidation in the semiconductor industry would lead to similar consolidation of their suppliers (materials and equipment). Linx presented the following materials merger list.

linx 3

International Business Strategies (IBS)

Our old friends at IBS note that:

– Apple semiconductor value in 2016 will be $9.6B

– Apple is driving advanced features including move to 10 and 7nm

– Smaller features will continue to give lower power and higher performance but now at a cost premium

– Chip scale packaging will enjoy significant growth

– 3D NAND will show high growth

– smartphones will continue to lead demand at least through 2025

– Growth of IoT will accelerate after connectivity to the cloud becomes very low cost and business models are established for monetizing value of data

Specific areas of high growth are shown below:


Western Digital / Sandisk

Chen presented an interesting history of NAND and concluded that this new conversion of 2D NAND to 3D NAND is more complex than past 2D to 2D conversions and will generate a period of limited cost reduction in the industry. In the past, 2D to 2D scaling transitions took 4-5 quarters but now 2 to 3D is expected to take 14 to 16 quarters!

WD 1

GlobalFoundries (GF)

Patton of GlobalFoundries sees 5G as disruptive technology, which will transform today’s communication architecture.

GF 1

Patton also pointed to packaging as the alternative to silicon scaling (readers certainly know that IFTLE agrees).

GF 2

For all the latest in Advanced Microelectronic Packaging, stay linked to IFTLE…


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