Intel’s Long Decline and Losing the Future Desktop Chip Battle

Intel was the dominant computer chip company for decades. Intel built this dominance on engineering execution and being the undisputed leader in lithography.

Intel was supposed to be at 10-nanometer chips using EUV (extreme ultraviolet light) in 2016. There were industry delays in enabling the transition to EUV. However, Samsung brought the first commercial EUV chips to market in 2018.

Intel was supposed to have much higher price-performance by continuing to be the leader at scaling to smaller size lithography and with larger 450 mm wafers. This was canceled.

Intel failed to become a leader with massive chip technology segments. The mobile chip market was one where Intel was not willing to compete on higher volume and lower margin. Intel has not been a leader with GPUs for graphics, high-end computing, and AI. This has been dominated by Nvidia. AMD became an effective competitor in that market.

Now Intel has at least a one year delay with its 7 nanometer chips. Intel said the launch of its 7-nanometer chips could be delayed until as late as 2023. TSMC, AMD and Nvidia all have strong 7 nanometer chips.

TSMC is even mass-producing 5-nanometer chips and they will be used in the upcoming 5G iPhones.

Intel CEO Bob Swan said the launch of his company’s first in-house 7-nanometer process-related chip products will be delayed to late 2022, or even early 2023. He also said Intel will need to look for external manufacturing partners to reduce the impact of the delay. China’s top contract chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co. is also racing ahead to close tech gaps, with its 14-nanometer chips scheduled to go into mass production by this year.

TSMC has said its next generation of 3-nanometer technology will go into mass production by the second half of 2022.

Intel has fallen behind by about two years on pure technology and is years behind on being able to get to volume.

Intel will have to rely on outsourcing to TSMC for several years.

These are the last few years of this technology. There will need to be new technologies after 1 and 2-nanometer chips.

Intel over the last few years had an exodus of engineering and leadership talent. Intel brought in many executives and leaders from outside Intel. This was a change from a history of developing leaders internally.

Intel did not commit to dominating mobile chips or GPUs because of initial lower margins. Intel was worth more than Nvidia, AMD and TSMC combined but now those three competitors have a combined market value that is double Intel.

Intel had maintained a two-year technological lead and now they are behind by over two years.

SOURCES- Wikipedia, Extremetech, the Verge, Samsung Blog, Nikkei
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture