Following the culmination of its spin-off process back in March, GlobalFoundries has been seeking to sign up new customers and shed its image as an AMD-only fab. Today they’ve taken an important step towards that goal, announcing a “strategic customer relationship” with STMicroelectronics that will involve manufacturing chips based on 40-nm low-power bulk silicon process technology.

The companies say the 40nm LP process is ideal for next generation wireless applications, handheld devices, and consumer electronics, which require both excellent performance and long battery life. First tape out and production of STMicro products by GlobalFoundries is planned to start in 2010.

STMicroelectronics is the world's fifth-largest semiconductor vendor in terms of revenue and has several fabs on relatively recent process nodes. The move is not only a major milestone for GlobalFoundries, it signals a growing trend in the semiconductor industry towards “fabless” business models. The firm would not say what specific types of chips it will make for STMicro, whose product portfolio includes memory, microcontrollers, power management silicon, and MEMS or micro-electro-mechanical systems.