Intel Backs ASML for Next-Generation Chipmaking Technology
July 10, 2012 9:24 AM
Intel takes a 15% stake in ASML
ASML isn't a household name, but there's a high likelihood that you're using devices with processors made on its chipmaking devices. ASML makes the equipment that companies such as Intel, Samsung Electronics, and TSMC use to construct the processors and other chips inside gadgets of all sorts.
reports that ASML approached its three biggest customers, including Intel, and asked them to help fund R&D in exchange for shares in the company.
ASML offered Intel, TSMC, and Samsung Electronics up to 25% of the shares for bankrolling the research and development of next-generation technology. Intel has already agreed to bankroll some of the research and development for ASML and the development could lead to significantly cheaper processors and other chips that consume less power.
"We're talking about $50 tablets," said Richard Windsor, Nomura's global technology specialist. "This brings into the realms of possibility a technology that we thought wasn't feasible and opens up the possibility for greater cost reductions."
Intel announced this week that it would spend $4 billion on up to 15% of ASML shares and would further fund research. TSMC is also said to be considering a similar deal. If ASML only wants to give up 25% of its outstanding shares, that only leaves 10% for TSMC and could mean Samsung Electronics ends up with nothing.
The investment was a no-brainer for Intel because the company is looking to speed the adoption of next generation chip manufacturing processes by as much as two years. Speeding the adoption of the technology would mean higher performing chips and longer battery life for notebooks,
, and tablets.
reports that ASML is looking to mitigate the risk of developing new 450 mm wafer equipment and extreme ultraviolet or EUV lithography equipment development as much as possible.
"The transition from one wafer size to the next has historically delivered a 30 to 40 percent reduction in die cost," Intel Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich said in a statement. "The faster we do this, the sooner we can gain the benefit of productivity improvements."
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