Editor's note: At this time, the release date of AMD’s “Fusion” platform is unconfirmed. Previously, the Fool had quoted this date as the second half of 2009. The Fool regrets this error.
If I can make it there,
I'll make it anywhere;
it's up to you,
New York, New York!
-- From "New York, New York"
Thus spoke Frank Sinatra, and now Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) is following in Ol' Blue Eyes' footsteps. The chip designer's newly spun-off manufacturing arm is about to break ground on a new factory in New York state.
The GLOBALFOUNDRIES joint venture (Apologies to the company and their love for the Caps Lock key, but I'll be referring to it as "GlobalFoundries" from this point on) is expected to spend $4.2 billion on this new facility over the next three to four years, creating more than 1,400 direct manufacturing jobs and an additional 5,000 jobs within the region.
While that's great news for the Empire State, it also shows the benefits AMD is reaping from this spin-off move. AMD's admittedly shaky balance sheet will not need to bear the full burden of this ambitious project, as wealthy investors in Abu Dhabi help foot the bill. The company can't afford to fall too far behind Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) in the eternal race toward more manufacturing capacity and better chip-making processes. Delaying the new fab while rebuilding AMD's balance sheet could have been a fatal error, which has been avoided for the time being.
It's also a show of strength that coincides with market research firm iSuppli showing that Intel lost 2.3 percentage points of market share to AMD last quarter. And all of these forward-looking moves are happening without the benefit of the new 6-core Istanbul architecture, which launched too recently to have any impact on iSuppli's numbers.
The New York plant should be operational by 2012, and equipped with the latest and greatest manufacturing processes GlobalFoundries can come up with. That includes input from longtime manufacturing tech partner IBM (NYSE: IBM ) , whose global headquarters are just a couple of hours down I-87 from Saratoga County.
Intel will surely remain the largest processor provider for years to come, but AMD's capacity planning should put some pressure on the giant. Also, GlobalFoundries plans to go a-courtin' other fabless chip designers who need manufacturing done here in America rather than shipping orders off to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE: TSM ) and other far-eastern providers. That could include homeland heroes like Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM ) and even direct AMD competitor NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) .
As I keep telling you, AMD appears poised to rise from the grave, and is positioned for big things in the near future. We haven't even seen the real payoff from the ATI acquisition yet, but the "Fusion" platform that builds on the combination of AMD and ATI's technologies looks to fulfill that promise, though on a delayed release schedule.