DigiTimes heard TSMC has lowered foundry prices by 10-15 percent for some large volume orders placed by its major clients. The Taiwanese foundry hopes this will improve its utilization rate. No names are mentioned, but it's likely that NVIDIA and ATI are among these major clients that received a price cut.
When asked to comment, TSMC responded that it does not comment on pricing for individual cases. However, acting spokesperson JH Tzeng did note that TSMC CEO Rick Tsai said at the company's January 22 investors conference that first quarter 2009 pricing was set about six months ago and that the foundry has not seen recent fluctuations in pricing.
The leading foundry has seen its utilization rate slide to less than 40%, down from about 50% in the fourth quarter of 2008, the sources have found. TSMC intends to undertake an aggressive pricing strategy for the current quarter, with price reductions larger than the 5% cuts it had offered in the fourth quarter of 2008, the sources said.
Beneficiaries of TSMC's bargain prices are its major clients specializing in GPUs and handset chips, as well as analog IC design houses and power management (PWM) IC suppliers, the sources said.