Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TSMC to buy land and facilities from Powerchip, says paper

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is looking to acquire land and facilities from DRAM maker Powerchip Technology for slightly above NT$3 billion (US$102 million), the Chinese-language Commercial Times cited unnamed sources as reporting on December 27.

TSMC reportedly is negotiating to take over Powerchip's P4 plant, which is still under construction, and a land lot designated for construction of Powerchip's P5 plant, according to the paper. The two manufacturing sites are located near the foundry's 12-inch Fab 12 at the Hsinchu Science Park (HSP), northern Taiwan.

Powerchip reportedly has left P4 idle after the shell construction was completed, and postponed the construction of P5, due to the industry downturn. The company in April 2008 hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new 12-inch fabs, which were to join its existing three fabs capable of outputting 130,000 wafers a month.

In other news, a Nikkei business daily report recently said TSMC is among Toshiba's potential foundry partners. Toshiba on December 24 announced plans to expand outsourcing of system chips, including 40nm products, to multiple foundries starting its fiscal 2011.

Nobunaga Chai, analyst for semiconductors at Digitimes Research, in a recent research report pointed out that TSMC would be the largest beneficiary of increased outsourcing by IDMs thanks to the foundry's lead in advanced process capacity. Combined capacity at TSMC's 12-inch wafer fabs outpaced that of its 6- and 8-inch facilities for the first time in the third quarter of 2010, at 1.505 million versus 1.443 million units of 8-inch equivalent wafers, Chai said.

Chai forecast TSMC will continue dominating the global pure-play foundry industry in 2011 with a 52% share, followed by United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) with 15% and Globalfoundries with 12%.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Obama Stands by Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage - but Feelings "Evolving"

Asked at a press conference Wednesday about his opposition to same-sex marriage in the wake of repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, President Obama stood by his position - but also suggested he was open to changing his mind in the near future. 

"My feelings about this are constantly evolving," he said. "I struggle with this. I have friends, I have people who work for me who are in powerful, strong, long-lasting gay or lesbian unions. And they are extraordinary people. And this is something that means a lot to them and they care deeply about." 

He continued: "At this point, what I've said is that my baseline is a strong civil union that provides them the protections and the legal rights that married couples have, and I think that's the right thing to do. But I recognize that from their perspective it is not enough, and I think this is something that we're going to continue to debate, and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward."

Mr. Obama added that "this is going to be an issue that is not unique to the military, this is an issue that extends to all of our society and I think we're all going to have to have a conversation about it."

The president took a similar position in October, when he said "attitudes evolve, including mine."
"The one thing I will say today is I think it's pretty clear where the trendlines are going," he said. 

Upon signing the bill to end the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gay men and women from serving openly in the military Wednesday morning, Mr. Obama cast the moment as a move toward equality for all Americans, stating, "We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal."

He said during an  interview with The Advocate Tuesday night that he believed the next legislative steps on gay rights are the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act and passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. DOMA defines marriage as between one man and one woman on a federal level, while ENDA would make it illegal for employers to make decisions about hiring, firing, promoting and/or paying someone based on his or her sexual orientation.