Intel Foundry Services Scores Its First Win, Sort Of

Intel announced today that MediaTek will be the first company to manufacture chipsets using Intel Foundry Services (IFS). The chipmaking giant is touting the partnership as a win, but MediaTek has said separately that it’s only using Intel for “mature” chip production and will continue to use TSMC for “advanced process nodes.”

“As one of the world’s leading fabless chip designers powering more than 2 billion devices a year, MediaTek is a terrific partner for IFS as we enter our next phase of growth,” IFS President Randhir Thakur said. “We have the right combination of advanced process technology and geographically diverse capacity to help MediaTek deliver the next billion connected devices across a range of applications.”

As for MediaTek, it is correctly following a multi-sourcing strategy for chipsets (as Intel is doing too, at least for the short-term). And this partnership is perhaps best seen as an expansion of its previous relationship with Intel for 5G data cards.

“With its commitment to major capacity expansions, IFS provides value to MediaTek as we seek to create a more diversified supply chain,” MediaTek corporate vice president NS Tsai said. “We look forward to building a long-term partnership to serve the fast-growing demand for our products from customers across the globe.”

MediaTek was a bit more blasé about the deal in a conversation with Nikkei Asia, however: it told the publication that it would only use IFS for “mature chip production process technologies, such as the so-called Intel 16 process technology” that’s used in so-called smart edge devices. MediaTek will continue to reply on its “close partnership with TSMC in advanced process nodes.”

Intel, of course, hopes that it can scale up to more advanced process nodes quickly and attract this kind of business from MediaTek and other firms. And it has certainly taken the steps necessary for that future, with major chip fabrication investments in Ohio, Europe, and elsewhere.

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