AMD In NYS? . . .

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Spending Billions Is Fun, Let’s Do It Again

AMD finally announced that it planned to refurbish Fab 30 about a week ago. Nothing bizarre about that, there’s numerous advantages to such a move.

What is bizarre are some folks in New York State claiming that AMD wants to build a fab there, too.

Let’s see. In one week, the real and/or rumor mill has AMD:

  • Spending $2.5 billion to refit Dresden
  • Spending $4.5 billion to buy ATI
  • Spending $3.5 billion to build yet another fab.

    That’s $10.5 billion. That’s a lot of money, and that doesn’t even count the bridge I’m trying to sell them.

    Unless Intel is going to roll over and hand AMD billions of dollars to settle the lawsuit really soon, I think we can dismiss item two pretty easily, and preclude item three because of item one.

    Let’s point out a few things about this New York State site:

  • They’ve been trying to get somebody, anybody to build a fab there for almost ten years. No one has bitten. Texas Instruments and Samsung looked at the place, but apparently used it as a bargaining chip to get a better deal from the area where they already had fabs.
  • Some might think “Wait, there already is a fab in New York State, IBM’s East Fishkill fab, and you know IBM and AMD are very close.” Unfortunately for that story, the East Fishkill and Saratoga County locations aren’t, they’re over a hundred miles away from each other. East Fishkill is about forty driving miles away from IBM world headquarters in Armonk, which would make anything in Saratoga County more like 150 miles away. If IBM and AMD ever decide to build a joint fab,
  • The Saratoga County area has no special technical expertise. Even East German Dresden made electronics.

    Enough money can conquer all, of course, but from the news accounts, it doesn’t quite sound like the New York legislators have all their ducks in a row (and the incentives aren’t exactly jaw-dropping, either), which is not what AMD needs right now. They have to start doing something now for 2008, not 2009 or 2010.

    Perhaps this talk is about the successor to Fab 38. If so, we’ll see in the next few weeks.

    Just as likely, though, any discussions between AMD and New York State was (or maybe still is) a way to get the maximum financial benefit from the Germans.

    Ed


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