Update: Samsung Foundry stated that the report stating the company is facing a talent shortage for legacy nodes is not true and completely baseless. Here is what Samsung Foundry said in an official statement to SamMobile:
“A recent report that Samsung is experiencing legacy node issues due to talent shortage for its foundry operations is groundless and not true. In addition to our industry-leading 3nm GAA process technology, legacy nodes are also an integral part of our foundry business and we will continue to cater to the various needs of our customers.”
Original story follows…
Samsung is reportedly facing difficulties manufacturing chipsets based on the 3nm process. Not because of technical setbacks but due to a shortage of talent in the semiconductor space. Samsung Foundry doesn’t seem to have enough R&D manpower to sustain 3nm-based chipset manufacturing, and the company has reportedly done some restructuring to mitigate these problems.
According to the Korean media, Samsung has reassigned some of its foundry employees from legacy processes to 3nm processes (or lower). The company doesn’t seem to have enough talent to support all nodes, and as a result, industry watchers say that it redistributed manpower from 130nm and 65nm foundry processes.
This reorganization doesn’t come without a cost, however. Recent reports say that the company no longer accepts orders for chipsets based on 130nm and 65nm nodes from domestic small and medium-sized fabless chipmakers.
The good news for Samsung, as far as competition in the semiconductor space is concerned, is that it is not the only chipmaker to face these issues. Semiconductor companies in the USA, Taiwan, and China, are also struggling to recruit more people.
TSMC recently delayed its 3nm production, possibly for these same reasons. Samsung did ship its first 3nm chips last year, but the first batch was of low quantity. Samsung delivered its first 3nm chips to a cryptocurrency mining company in China.
The new Galaxy S23 series uses 4nm-based chipsets, i.e., the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. The latest Qualcomm SoC powering Samsung’s new flagship phones is manufactured by TSMC.