What is Intel doing about process and outsourcing?

There is only one way out now

Intel LogoThere has been a lot of talk about Intel outsourcing production lately, but what is really going on? SemiAccurate has been tracking this story closely and can now tell you what we know.

The Story So Far:

Lately there have been a few leaks about outsourcing to Samsung and TSMC with various nodes and timelines mentioned. None of this is new but it is now public so time to sort the wheat from the chaff. Lets take a long look at what Intel wants to do, what they can do, and whom with.

One thing to state up front is that to the best of SemiAccurate’s knowledge, few if any final decisions have been made at this point for reason that go beyond the tech. Given that Intel’s CEO is about to be replaced, will Bob Swan make decisions that will change the very DNA of the company so late in his tenure? Can Intel afford to wait? What does this say about the status of their 10nm fabs much less the 7nm fabs that are due in 2021 2022 2023 the future? Will Intel spin off their fabs? What is the status of their 7nm process?

All of this and more are intertwined into what we in the industry call a “flaming mess”, a technical term connoting a situation that is more problematic than the protagonists would like you to believe. It all starts with the CEO replacement, something SemiAccurate exclusively told you about last October. Then there is the outsourcing of chips which some claim is a new thing. SemiAccurate told you about it in July,  told you some specifics about Intel’s wafer order in August, and last September detailed when Intel would get their first chips back from TSMC. For the record they had silicon in hand weeks before these recent rumors made the rounds.

So what is the state of things as we start the new year? Messy and clear as mud, but that is much better that it has been for the last two or three quarters. Lets take a look at what SemiAccurate has found in our research. Please bear with us, we know this is a long story but the background is imperative for understanding why things are the way they are.

Note: The following is analysis for professional level subscribers only.

Disclosures: Charlie Demerjian and Stone Arch Networking Services, Inc. have no consulting relationships, investment relationships, or hold any investment positions with any of the companies mentioned in this report.

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate