These decades, the semiconductor industry has a great impact to us. Since the 1987 TSMC fabs foundry established, Industrial structure from vertical integration to vertical disintegration. Thus, TSMC has great relation in semiconductor industry’s changing history.
Looking back to 1980s, IBM made their first personal computer debut in 1981, leading the system from close end to open source. This changing not only boosted the development of computer accessories, but also increased the demand of consumer electronics. All these electric gadgets require IC, making the needs of semiconductor incremental strong. In the meantime, IC products’ characteristic of short life cycles as well as squashed time frames, made fabless manufacturers pop up.
There were two main factors influence the success of fabless companies, they are: 1.) steady capacity, technology, and delivery response time; and 2.) the protection to intellectual property of fabless companies. However, TSMC choose to become a dedicated IC foundry but not a traditional IDM one. We conclude four reasons from this decision. First, Mead proposed the design and manufacture of IC can be split and proved to be effective in 1979. Second, foundries responded to the emerging demands of fabless. Third, for fabless companies, there were fewer chances to have issues on technology and intellectual property by choosing a dedicated IC foundry as their outsourcing partner. Fourth, technology specialists were comparative better in Taiwan. Without the great amount of expense on plants, production equipment, and R&D, TSMC also benefited from the scale of economic and made it cost competitive.
This thesis is a case study to show how TSMC, a dedicated IC foundry, acting as catalyst and leading this industry from vertical integration to vertical disintegration.
Keywords: Wafer manufacture , TSMC, vertical disintegration