Has Intel's Indian-American Techie Risked America's Global Technology Leadership?

Intel has recently fired its Indian-American chief engineer Venkata Murthy Renduchintala, who also served as Group President of the Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group (TSCG), for failure to deliver 7 nanometer semiconductor technology on schedule, according to Reuters.  The news has knocked the market value of Intel by tens of billions dollars. The American company, the biggest global chip manufacturer with in-house fabrication plants, has also decided to outsource manufacturing. This could deal a serious blow to America's global leadership in chip manufacturing which is fundamental to all other computer and communications related technologies.


Intel's Global Leadership:

Intel Corp. (INTC), founded in 1968 in Silicon Valley, is the world's largest and the most advanced semiconductor company, larger than the second-ranked Samsung Semiconductors, and more than triple the size of the next-largest domestic producer, Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM).

What distinguishes Intel from most other semiconductor companies is that it manufactures its products in-house. The bulk of semiconductor “manufacturers” outsource the actual work of building their products out to foundries in China and Taiwan.

Last week, the company revealed that its smaller, faster 7-nanometer chipmaking technology was at least six months behind schedule and it would have to outsource manufacturing to keep its products competitive.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC):

Taiwan-based TSMC has 6 nanometer technology in production already. There is widespread speculation that Intel will turn to it to manufacture its most advanced microprocessors.

TSMC manufactures chips for the vast majority of the leading fabless semiconductor companies including Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Apple Inc., Broadcom Inc., Marvell, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.

US Technology Leadership Under Threat:

Semiconductor manufacturing technology is fundamental to all other computer and communications technologies. While the U.S. still has most of the leading chip design companies, there are very few leading semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the country. In fact, the US, which invented the chip technology,  has slipped from being first in semiconductor manufacturing at the dawn of the industry to fifth in the world.

Recognizing the issue of foreign sourcing of critical technologies, the US has forced TSMC to start a fab in Arizona.  But TSMC’s proposed fab in Arizona will have relatively small capacity, sufficient to meet only a fraction of the manufacturing demand of top companies like Apple, AMD, Marvell, Nvidia, etc.  The US Congress is in the process of legislation that will provide greater incentives to companies to manufacture chips in the United States.

US-China Tech War:

TSMC is caught in the cross-fire of US-China technology war.  Almost all major semiconductor manufacturers, including TSMC, rely on equipment made by US companies. The US government is attempting to leverage the dominance of US chipmaking equipment industry to shut out the Chinese technology companies.

US Commerce Department has recently announced that henceforth, any semiconductor chips made with equipment built by American companies cannot be sold to Huawei without prior approval and license from the DOC.

Summary:

Silicon Valley tech giant has revealed that its smaller, faster 7-nanometer chipmaking technology is at least six months behind schedule and it would have to outsource manufacturing to keep its products competitive. The company has blamed the failure on its Indian-American chief engineer who has since been fired. What is at stake here is the US technology leadership because semiconductors are fundamental to all computers and communications products. Taiwan-based TSMC appears to be the biggest beneficiary of Intel's failure.

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Comments

Sabahat A. said…
My short and very low-level experience with said semiconductor behemoth pointed to the rot being much deeper.
Terry A. said…
My understanding is that Intel is behind the curve
Or lagging behind AMD in 7 nm Production
Technology by 1.5 to 2 years ( Not 6 months )
Intel has publicly stated that they expect to
Release 7 nm products in volume production
By the end of 2021 or even going into 2022.....
Some reports also say that could drag into
Later in 2022 ( which is 2 years from now )

I worked at AMD for almost 3 decades on pioneering
Teams for Test Engr & Worldwide Testing Production
Operations Management for 8 Generations of Microprocessors -
( 80186 to the Opteron families ) and was among
Many who clearly saw how Intel played and used
Unethical & Dirty Tactics ( Lawsuits , threatening
Customers etc etc ) to keep their competitors
DOWN !!!! ......... Just because they had plenty of
Money to keep cases tied up in court for over
A decade....... Ultimately ALL the final Court
Arbitration & Judgements came out in AMD,s
Favor ( proving that Intel had no leg to stand on
And all their lawsuits were filed without Merit )

The failure to deliver 7 nm products was NOT
This Indian Executives fault as he was barely at
The company for less that 2 years I understand
He had a lot of successes at Qualcomm his previous
Employer before joining Intel....... so just became
Another Scapegoat to assign the blame for
Their dismal performances over the past few
Years........ Both Executive Management Scandals
As well as Fabrication & Process Engineering
Screw ups over the past 3 years Are the real
Causes for Intels downfall ........ Period !!

Sure they will figure out how to come back
( sometime or someday in the next few years ) by using
TSMC or other more advanced companies
And selling some of their sub micron USA
Fabs to other Companies to minimize their
Losses....... BUT they will need to cut at
Least 15-20 % of their current workforce
In the meantime to remain competitive ??

Intel has been the ( Goliath ) of the Semiconductor
Industry for about 2 decades........ however
They became too arrogant & sloppy , let their guard
Down ........ & are now learning that AMD &
Nvidia That were the ( David’s ) of Microprocessors & Graphics chips can come back and WIN ?

Sometimes those who laugh LAST........ laugh the
BEST !!!
Riaz Haq said…
Nikkei reported earlier today that TSMC has moved to stop new orders from Huawei following the US government’s announcement last week. The rules are specifically designed to target Huawei and its chip subsidiary HiSilicon, requiring a license for any shipments from manufacturers that use US technology or equipment. TSMC didn’t deny the reports but called them “purely market rumor,” according to Reuters.


https://www.theverge.com/2020/5/18/21262042/huawei-us-export-tsmc-chip-manufacture


Huawei has in the past suggested that it could switch its chip supply to Samsung in this eventuality. The company has also recently been exploring domestic chip production through China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), which just received a $2.2 billion investment from the Chinese government.

SMIC is a relatively tiny competitor to TSMC, however, and it would take a long time to scale up to Huawei’s cutting-edge demands. Last week SMIC started mass production of HiSilicon’s Kirin 710A processor on its 14nm node, but TSMC is expected to move onto a more advanced 5nm process this year. Even the original Kirin 710 was manufactured by TSMC at 12nm, and that was a mid-range chip in 2018.

“This decision by the US government does not just affect Huawei. It will have a serious impact on a wide number of global industries,” Huawei says in its statement. “In the long run, this will damage the trust and collaboration within the global semiconductor industry which many industries depend on, increasing conflict and loss within these industries. The US is leveraging its own technological strengths to crush companies outside its own borders. This will only serve to undermine the trust international companies place in US technology and supply chains. Ultimately, this will harm US interests.”

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer division, also spoke out against the US government today. “The so-called cybersecurity reasons are merely an excuse,” he wrote in a WeChat post reported on by Bloomberg. “The key is the threat to the technology hegemony of the US.”
Riaz Haq said…
#US squeeze on #China’s apps, #digital infrastructure could upend global internet. Over 20 of 100 top-grossing apps on #Google Play are #Chinese, while 10 of the 100 highest grossing apps on #Apple’s App Store are from China. #CleanNetwork https://www.scmp.com/tech/big-tech/article/3096323/us-squeeze-chinas-apps-digital-infrastructure-could-upend-global?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=share_widget&utm_campaign=3096323 via @scmpnews

“Many of the Chinese companies currently under unilateral US sanctions are innocent, and their technology and products are safe,” said Wang Wenbin, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a statement on Thursday. “It is absurd for the US to talk of a ‘Clean Network’ when it is covered in its own filth”, referencing the Edward Snowden incident and Prism surveillance.

--------
The Trump administration’s “Clean Network” programme threatens to further disrupt China’s technology industry, as the campaign seeks to restrict the international expansion of Chinese apps, cloud services and undersea cable networks.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday made sweeping remarks that – “to keep Americans’ data safe from untrusted vendors” – he will aim to remove Chinese-owned apps in the market as well as cut off links with China’s digital infrastructure.
The initiative, which the State Department said includes the commitment of more than 30 countries and territories, is likely to escalate the complex tech war between the world’s two largest economies, according to analysts.
“The negative effect of this programme is that it’s becoming harder to see a truly global vision of the internet and access without borders surviving this tech war,” said Paul Haswell, a partner who advises technology companies at international law firm Pinsent Masons. “It would seem that the object of the campaign is to remove Chinese technology from all aspects of US data transmission and processes. We’ll have to see if that is even possible in practice.”

-----------

“This latest ramp-up in US-China tensions poses a potential barrier for the Chinese cloud companies to expand globally,” said Mathew Ball, Canalys’ chief analyst for global infrastructure, cloud and cybersecurity. He added, however, that this campaign “will be challenging to enforce outside the US”.
Pompeo said the US campaign is also focused on keeping the undersea cables that links the country to the global internet safe from intelligence-gathering by China.
In June, the US government blocked a major undersea cable network from linking Hong Kong to the US West Coast because it “would expose US communications traffic to collection” by China.
Riaz Haq said…
#US #CleanNetwork aims to restrict #international growth of #Chinese apps, cloud services and undersea cable networks. 20+ of 100 top-grossing apps on #Google Play are #Chinese, while 10 of the 100 highest grossing apps on #Apple’s App Store are from China https://www.scmp.com/tech/big-tech/article/3096323/us-squeeze-chinas-apps-digital-infrastructure-could-upend-global

The Clean Network campaign also aims to prevent sensitive personal information of US citizens and businesses’ most valuable intellectual property – including Covid-19 vaccine research – from being stored and processed on cloud computing platforms run by the likes of

Alibaba Group Holding
, telecommunications network operators

China Mobile
and

China Telecom
,

Baidu
and Tencent.

Tencent and Alibaba, the parent company of the South China Morning Post, declined to comment on the US programme on Thursday. Baidu did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Alibaba Cloud
was the world’s fourth-largest cloud services provider in the second quarter, behind Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, according to research firm Canalys.
“This latest ramp-up in US-China tensions poses a potential barrier for the Chinese cloud companies to expand globally,” said Mathew Ball, Canalys’ chief analyst for global infrastructure, cloud and cybersecurity. He added, however, that this campaign “will be challenging to enforce outside the US”.

Riaz Haq said…
Alibaba vs. Amazon

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/better-buy%3A-alibaba-vs.-amazon-2020-04-02


With just about everyone who is still working doing so from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a huge increase in the use of cloud services and online grocery orders. Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) are two of the top e-commerce and cloud service providers in the world.

Alibaba dominates China's e-commerce market, with 824 million users on mobile. The Chinese tech giant is also the leading cloud service provider in China with Alibaba Cloud.

Amazon is increasing its share of e-commerce in the U.S., as it becomes the go-to online store for people relatively new to buying things online. The company has over 150 million Amazon Prime members who enjoy free shipping and other services as part of a yearly subscription. Most of the company's profit, however, is generated from Amazon Web Services, which is helping organizations migrate their data systems from on-premise servers to the cloud.

Both companies were growing fast going into the coronavirus crisis, but the practice of social distancing will only make these companies stronger as more people adopt online shopping. We'll compare Alibaba and Amazon on financial fortitude, growth, and valuation to determine which stock is the better buy.

In hard times, companies that have plenty of cash can weather the storm, while companies that are swamped with debt add an additional element of risk that you can avoid by investing in cash-rich companies like Alibaba and Amazon.

The main difference between the two is that Alibaba generates more free cash flow relative to revenue than Amazon. Free cash flow is an important profitability metric to watch, as it shows the actual cash that is left over for value-creating moves like dividends, share repurchases, and acquisitions after paying all expenses and reinvesting in the business for growth.

Overall, Alibaba has the advantage here.

Which company is growing faster?
While Alibaba and Amazon have both been around for more than 20 years, both companies are still growing very fast, especially for companies of their size.

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