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A Call to ARMs!

A Call to ARMs!
by Daniel Nenni on 06-12-2013 at 7:00 pm

 It sure has been an interesting experience watching Intel enter the semiconductor foundry business! While I credit Intel for increasing the exposure of the fabless semiconductor ecosystem to the financial markets, the attention from the Intel biased press is a bit overwhelming. The TSMC and ARM bashing is reaching new levels so let’s take a look back at how this all started.

The first quote I remember on the subject was from Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang suggesting Intel go into the foundry business. “Why not be a foundry for all the mobile companies? There’s no shame in that.”This is back when 40nm silicon was in short supply and Nvidia was having yield ramping problems, which he first blamed on TSMC but later shared responsibility for. Unfortunately Nvidia, Qualcom, and the rest of the mobile companies will be competing with Intel Atom based SoCs so I do not see them buying wafers from Intel anytime soon. Apple learned the hard way what happens when you buy wafers from a competitor (Samsung), right?

The next memorable quote was from Intel Fellow Mark Bohr: “Being an integrated device manufacturer really helps us solve the problems dealing with devices this small and complex,” Bohr said “the foundries and fabless companies won’t be able to follow where Intel is going.”

Mark went on to predict that: “TSMC’s recent announcement it will serve just one flavor of 20 nm process technology is an admission of failure. The Taiwan fab giant apparently cannot make at its next major node the kind of 3-D transistors needed mitigate leakage current, Bohr said.”

Of course we now know that statement is false but this type of rhetoric continues today. Not so much by Intel themselves, as I think they have learned their lesson, but by the Intel Fanboy Press. On the positive side it has further bonded the fabless semiconductor ecosystem and has boosted our drive to innovate, collaborate, and in the words of the Chairman, Dr. Morris Chang, create the “Grand Alliance” that we see today.

One example of Intel bigoted press is Seeking Alpha’s Ashraf Eassa who not only bashes ARM, but also bashes TSMC and the fabless semiconductor ecosystem on a whole. Ashraf is a fame and fortune seeking college student that gets paid $.01 per click for his articles, which certainly explains his tabloid worthy titles:

  • Intel Breaks ARM, Sends Shares Down 20%
  • ARM Holdings Starts To Sound Desperate
  • Sell ARM: Intel Mobile Progress Is Major Threat To Lofty Valuation
  • Intel Puts The Final Nail In The ARM Cost Myth Coffin
  • ARM Holdings: The Real Reason That It Ends Badly

  • Intel Beats ARM At Its Own Game With Avoton
  • Sell ARM As CEO’s Departure Signals The Top
  • ARM Proven Wrong, Intel Vindicated
  • 61% Downside Ahead For ARM Holdings As Lofty Expectations Meet Harsh Reality

Just to name a few… I didn’t include links because they really are not worth reading if you are a semiconductor professional. This is the start of a series of blogs I will do on authors who think Googling semiconductor topics takes the place of first hand experience.

Disclaimer:I will share my experiences, opinions, and observations based on my day job as an internationally recognized industry expert and my night job as SemiWiki blogger, administrator, and observer of analytics.I’m completely out of the stock market and have no desire to reenter itso don’t expect opinions that selfishly support my stock positions.Please consider this series of blogs a starting point for further discussion and clarification, and not the final word on anything.

lang: en_US


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