strategy for success: Q&A with Steve Della Rocchetta, EVP,
Silterra, part two
29 December 2005)
Despite the attractions of the fabless-plus-foundry model, any
foundry hoping to compete in an industry dominated by the
likes of UMC and TSMC will need to think carefully about its
strategy. In the case of Silterra, whose production facility
is located in the Kulim High-Tech Park, Malaysia, the strategy
combines carefully timed moves to deep submicron with the
cultivation of mass-market customers. The result is financial
stability after troubled times in the semiconductor industry,
and strategic relationships that include a partnership with
Taiwan design-service house Goyatek. Silterra is also involved
in a joint development project with IMEC in Europe. According
to Steve Della Rocchetta, EVP, Sales and Marketing, Silterra
is going into 2006 with optimism.
DigiTimes.com spoke recently with Della Rocchetta about
Silterra's strategy, technology and prospects. This interview
also includes contributions from Koh Meng Kong (MK), director
of Marketing for Silterra in Asia.
This is Part II of a three-part interview. Part I appeared on
28 December. Part III will follow on 30 December.
Q: A partnership with Taiwan design-service house Goyatek was
announced in September. Through this partnership, Goyatek is
able to provide ASIC/turnkey services for production utilizing
0.18- and 0.13-micron CMOS processes. In addition to design
and IP service, according to press releases, Goyatek is able
to provide complete SoC design support. Can you outline how
the partnership with Goyatek will work?
A: Goyatek is an outstanding design-service company. They are
among the top design-service houses in Taiwan. They've been
around for quite a while, and they really are experts in
design integration and execution. Naturally, we're really
excited about the opportunity to work with them. We expect to
see significant activities in 2006, as they leverage their
expertise combined with our key competence, which is TSMC-matched
process technologies in the logic and mixed-signal area, as
well as RF. We expect to see product tape-outs from Goyatek
This is a business-to-business relationship. It is mutually
beneficial to develop customers jointly. While they are well
known in Taiwan, they also have an office in Silicon Valley.
We expect to leverage our relationship with Goyatek on both
sides of the Pacific.
If you look at our business today, it is mostly based on
customer-owned-tooling (COT), and it is typically multisourced.
But we're the primary source for a significant portion of
prototypes that are coming through the pipeline. That's the
profile that we are planning to move to, and we are hoping
that Goyatek will enable us to get to that point faster.
Q: Do you have any comments on the EDA side and what Goyatek
can deliver? I understand their capability includes RTL
sign-off, floor planning and physical synthesis, DFT and IP
A: I don't have a lot of comment, other than that they are
supporting a virtual-ASIC business model and the capability to
do all the things that you indicated. Goyatek is known to be
very strong in back-end design service, so we will be able to
leverage our relationship in that area also.
Q: Does the partnership with Goyatek represent any form of
alliance or cooperative relationship with TSMC?
A: The answer to that is no. We provide TSMC-matched
technologies. We believe that people want to buy a standard
technology, and TSMC-based process technologies are the No. 1
process technologies in the world today. Strategically, that's
the camp we have chosen to be part of.
Q: According to the Silterra website, your foundry has
particular specialties in standard CMOS logic, highvoltage,
mixed-signal and RF technologies. Does the alliance with
Goyatek enable expansion of Silterra's technology portfolio
beyond these particular areas?
A: No, we aren't looking to expand beyond those particular
specialties. Those are the four legs of the stool, so to
speak, and I think that Goyatek will leverage their design
offerings and their service offerings around those
technologies. So no, I don't think you'll be seeing us
straying beyond what we think are strategic focuses.
Q: Presumably Silterra's RF and mixed-signal devices are being
fabricated in CMOS process. Is this correct, or is Silterra
also implementing compound-semiconductor devices?
A: We will not be pursuing compound technologies, simply
because we want to address very large mass markets. Our
strategy from Day 1 was not to hide in any niche technology
but rather take on the larger sectors of the market and the
technologies that serve those. That is why we chose CMOS logic
and mixed-signal for the mass markets. Again, if you look at
1- or 2- or 3% of a very large mass market, that's a lot of
business for us.
In fact, we're seeing single-chip RF-CMOS designs that used to
be implemented in compound technology such as silicon
germanium. For example, we had a design win recently where a
customer was considering using SiGe technology and instead
decided to use our RF-CMOS technology. So no, we're extremely
unlikely to go into those areas.
Q: Are there any other silicon technologies you might adopt,
such as strained silicon or silicon on insulator (SOI)?
A: It's unlikely, except perhaps for 65-nanometer and below.
We are going to stay with technologies that serve the mass
Silterra Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.:
Market demand driven, SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd is a
semiconductor wafer foundry offering major foundry compatible
CMOS logic, high-voltage and mixed-signal/RF technologies down
to 0.13-micron feature size. This includes complete,
competitive contract manufacturing for fabless and IDM
customers’ designs. SilTerra’s wafer fab has a design
capacity of 40,000 eight-inch wafers per month.
vigilant, SilTerra delivers award winning, world-class
performance to its customers seeking flexible capacity,
competitive advantages and around the clock customer support.
SilTerra is ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001 certified. Founded in
1995, the company’s headquarters and factory are located in
Malaysia’s Kulim High-Tech Park, and SilTerra has sales and
marketing offices in San Jose (California) and Hsinchu
(Taiwan). For additional information on SilTerra or its
services, please visit www.silterra.com.
Koh Meng Kong
+6-012-491-0425 (Cell phone)
Lu Ping Chiang
Tel : +886-3-574-1587 (o)