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TSMC, Renesas aim to expand microcontroller market

2012/05/28 22:42:26

Taipei, May 28 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, has signed an agreement with the world's number one microcontroller supplier to extend their technology collaboration to next-generation automotive and consumer applications.

Aiming to expand their market for the microcontroller -- a small processor that can be found in any electronic devices, TSMC and Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp. have decided to collaborate on 40 nanometer (nm) embedded flash (eFlash) process technology for manufacturing microcontroller products.

A microcontroller is like a small computer on a single integrated circuit containing a processor core, memory, and programmable input and output peripherals.

Renesas previously agreed to outsource microcontrollers to TSMC using 90nm eFlash process technology, while with the 40nm MCU collaboration, Renesas will outsource the production at 40nm and future technologies, the Taiwan-based company said in a statement Monday.

The two companies will lead in their own advanced technologies for microcontroller platform and production, and plan to make the process platform available to other semiconductor suppliers around the world, including companies without fabrication plants.

Renesas' senior vice president Shinichi Iwamoto said the company decided to partner with TSMC to achieve further global growth.

He said the company was confident that TSMC will provide it with timely production to cope with the volatile fluctuations in market demand.

"By integrating both companies' world-leading technologies through this collaboration, we will construct a supply structure which secures consistent supply for our customers and also drive the market as a leading microcontroller supplier aiming to set up an ecosystem," Iwamoto said.

Jason Chen, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at TSMC, said his company's process capabilities will allow Renesas to integrate flash onto a single microcontroller.

"Renesas is one of the leaders in the microcontroller market and the collaboration will help deliver the performance Renesas needs for new production introduction with the level of quality and reliability its customers have come to expect," he said.

At 40nm process, microcontroller products could achieve higher speed, lower power consumption and more than 50 percent smaller die size compared to the current 90nm node, TSMC said.

These features are particularly crucial for integrated microcontroller designs, where logic, memory, and all other system components are squeezed into a very small area, according to the company.

(By James Lee)