April 10, 2002 – Hsinchu, Taiwan – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) wants to make sure it is keeping pace in the race to improve manufacturing technology. But slowing down also might be a good idea, one of its senior officials said.
Calvin Chenming Hu, TSMC’s CTO, is giving a speech that will predict continued shrinking of semiconductor circuitry until roughly 2025 to 2028. Such progress would extend Moore’s Law.
From roughly 1965 to 1995, Hu said, keeping up with Moore’s Law meant shifting to a totally new production process every three years. Since 1995, however, the industry has been shifting processes every two years, Hu said.
Not coincidentally, he argued, the six years that followed have been harsh ones for chipmakers, reported Dow Jones and Co. In 2001, the industry had about the same or slightly lower revenues than 1995, when manufacturers were profitable in aggregate. But the industry collectively lost money last year.
While TSMC has no intention of falling behind in the race, Hu suggested it would be smarter, and more profitable, if chipmakers gave their customers more time to understand and fully exploit the new capabilities that each new production advance brings.
“The industry would be better off if we paid more attention to the bottom line and less attention to the beauty contest of technology introduction,” Hu said.