By Roy White, RAVE LLC, Delray Beach, FL USA
Photomask costs are a painfully visible issue in today’s competitive semiconductor market. This puts substantial pressure on the profitability of photomask makers. Since the “mask makers’ vacation” ended some 15 years ago, it seems every paper you read has another exorbitant estimate of future mask costs.
Photomask makers point to the litany of issues they must overcome. The usual suspects are lined up and aggressively blamed (they would have been shot, but the shot counts are already too high)