Freescale eases out of Crolles2 alliance
At a June 19 meeting, Freescale Semiconductor Inc. announced it would terminate all IC manufacturing activities within the Crolles2 alliance, resulting in the company's complete withdrawal from Crolles research and manufacturing site, according to STMicroelectronics' trade union representatives.
Freescale's management has started the official process for a restructuring plan that calls for 94 job cuts, ST's unions said in a report.
In 2000, STMicroelectronics and Philips Semiconductors (now NXP) formed the Crolles2 alliance. Two years later, Freescale joined to collaborate on the research, development and industrialization of CMOS process technologies, beginning at 90nm and ultimately reaching the 32nm node. Also in 2002, TSMC became an associate partner.
The alliance was shattered when NXP announced in January it would not renew its participation beyond the term expiring end-2007.
At this point, Freescale officials asserted the company would not abandon the alliance, which consists of R&D activities and IC manufacturing. The group, however, announced shortly after that it would join IBM Corp.'s "fab club" for joint semiconductor R&D activities at the 32nm and 22nm nodes and beyond.
In their report, ST's unions raised the alarm, specifying that French and European governments must clearly show their intention to maintain in Europe an advanced microelectronics industry with strong R&D, design and manufacturing capacities. They also called on the new French government for key measures that would prevent from R&D and advanced manufacturing relocations.
The union representatives agreed that the priority is to protect industrial and human potentials in Crolles2. In this respect, they encouraged ST to hire their colleagues from Freescale and NXP that have been laid off. They also asked that, when leaving, Freescale and NXP do not transfer any equipment.
- Anne-Francoise Pele
EE Times Europe
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