RealTime IT News

IBM Launches $5 Billion Expansion Plan

In efforts to expand its chip-making capacity, IBM Tuesday revealed its has made the largest capital investment in its history.

Part of the plan calls for the building of state-of-the-art facility in East Fishkill, New York. The $2.5 billion plant is part of a total $5 billion capital investment plan to support IBM's growing semiconductor business around the world.

In addition to the New York facility, the company is expanding chip-making capacity in IBM's existing Burlington, Vt., and Yasu, Japan, facilities, as well as in Altis Semiconductor, a joint venture between IBM and Infineon located in Corbeil-Essonnes, France. IBM is also expanding organic and ceramic chip packaging operations worldwide.

The new Fishkill facility is planned to begin operation in the second half of 2002, bringing up to 1,000 new jobs to the region upon full production in early 2003.

The world of e-business has created major demands for critical technical components, like chips, noted Lou Gerstner, IBM chairman and CEO.

"Demand is white-hot in three critical segments -- chips for big servers, chips to power the explosion in Internet access devices and chips in the networking equipment that ties everything together," he said. "That's why today's announcement is important -- important for our industry, our customers and our employees."

He added that the new era in chip-making is driven by demand for innovative technologies to fuel advanced products, such as networking gear, pervasive computing devices and high-performance servers.

IBM also expects to be the first chip-maker to mass produce semiconductors at line-widths below 0.10 microns, more than 1000 times thinner than a human hair.

The company has been granted more U.S. patents than any other company for the last seven consecutive years; chip and packaging technology from the IBM Microelectronics Division has contributed more than one third to that IBM patent total.