Samsung Foundry, Samsung’s chip manufacturing division will permit key partners to use Samsung’s designs in their chips, and then sell them on to other companies. Although the company used to own intellectual property (IP), it now seems to have a system to distribute developments through intermediaries. Samsung can thus attract new customers to contract produce its chips.
Samsung’s latest initiative functions very similarly to the IP Alliance system developed by TSMC (the world’s largest contract manufacturer of chip manufacturing). The TSMC IP Alliance program, which includes leading chip design firms, provides the largest collection of factory-proven ICs in the semiconductor industry. IP Alliance members can access the technical data and libraries of TSMC to help them develop their chips, and get advice from TSMC’s technical support team.
TSMC’s goal to incentivize partners to continue to grow in the long-term is to motivate them. This strategy appears to be working. TSMC owns more than three times the number of intellectual properties (more than 30,000) while Samsung only has about 10,000.
According to sources, Samsung began looking for a model like this two years ago. Companies such as Apple or Qualcomm consider IP when selecting a contract chip manufacturer. Companies that create microcircuits, but don’t have production facilities (Fabless), can increase their efficiency using existing developments from their semiconductor manufacturing partners.
Samsung has grouped its IP assets, and transferred the rights to them across to different companies. Qualitas Semiconductor received interconnect rights, Openedge Technology was made a partner in memory chip production, and TechwidU is a distributor of analog technologies. Sources said that Samsung can now focus on its chip manufacturing business without having to compete with other intellectual property firms.