Definition of fabless

Fabless is a term used by semiconductor manufacturers and means "without a fabrication plant". It applies now to most chipmakers, with only a handful remaining who own their own plants – notably, Intel, Samsung and Texas Instruments. Fabless chipmakers, such as Qualcomm, rely on contract manufacturers, known as foundries, to produce their chips. The leading foundries are TSMC, UMC and SMIC in Taiwan and China and GlobalFoundries, with plants in the USA, Germany and Singapore. Samsung also acts as a foundry for external customers and Intel has recently begun offering its services to companies that do not compete with it in manufacturing microprocessors.


fabless in the news

In June 2012 a battle for market share was looming among fabless companies. Taiwan-based MediaTek's bid for MStar looked set to propel it into fourth place behind Qualcomm, Broadcom and AMD, the other main fabless companies. In February 2013 there was news that the proposed merger might be closer to gaining approval of regulatory authorities.

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