David Kanter from Real World Technologies reports GlobalFoundries, IBM and other Common Platform members announced a change to their 20nm strategy:
At the Common Platform tech day, IBM and other Common Platform membres announced that they will be shifting approaches for their high-k/metal gate process technology. The Common Platform members (mostly GF and IBM) had maintained that gate first had density advantages which overshadow the defectivity and performance benefits of gate last.
This always rung a bit hollow to me and did not seem very plausible. The two highest volume logic manufacturers (TSMC and Intel) clearly opted for gate last, which is a pretty strong signal. There were also rumors of Samsung and others pressuring IBM to move to gate last...so the writing has been on the wall for some time.
So, while this announcement is news, it's hardly surprisingly in the least.