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TSMC touts IoT as semiconductor growth engine

When the lower reaches of the supply chain get excited we might be onto something

Taiwanese chip fab TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co) reckons its Next Big Thing is going to be, you guessed it, the Internet of Things.

The vendor, whose contract customers (such as Apple) make it a powerhouse of IC manufacturing, expects demand for microcontrollers, image sensors, WiFi and Bluetooth sensors will power its mid-term future.

Taipei Times reports that TSMC expects both its 8-inch and 12-inch wafer fabs will get work producing devices for IoT applications.

TSMC senior director John Wei is quoted as predicting that within three to five years, the IoT business model will mature enough to become a major “growth engine” for the company.

Late in August, TSMC was rumoured to be accelerating its 16nm foundry plans, with outlets like Tom's Hardware saying the company will start shipping FinFET wafers in the first quarter of 2015.

Taipei Times puts the next big step in the company's fab processes at either 10nm or 7nm technologies, which it will start using in 2017. TSMC had not yet decided whether or not those fabs would use the EUV (extreme ultraviolet) processes that got it attention earlier this year.

Unfortunately for the company, it was the wrong kind of attention: the kit the company had installed cooked because of a laser misalignment, according to reports out of Asia. ®

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