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What do Intel and Congress Have in Common?

What do Intel and Congress Have in Common?
by Daniel Nenni on 10-09-2013 at 8:00 pm

 The war of words continues, when will it end? I consider myself a reasonably educated and informed person, certainly above average by U.S. standards, yet I have no idea why the U.S. Government continues to write checks they cannot cash and I don’t know who to believe in the resulting media blasts. I truly miss the days of Ross Perot and his pie chart political campaigning!

Intel is the same for me as they continue to bash the fabless companies thus writing checks they cannot cash. It first started when Intel entered the foundry business with Intel Fellow Mark Bohr predicting the demise of the fabless semiconductor ecosystem. It continues today as Intel starts to compete directly with Qualcomm, Nvidia, Marvell, ARM, TSMC, and the rest of the fabless semiconductor ecosystem. Remember, Intel has about a hundred thousand employees while the fabless semiconductor ecosystem has hundreds of thousands of employees. Intel invests billions of dollars in R&D every year while the fabless companies invest more than a trillion.

The latest comes via twitter:

Francois Piednoel ‏@FPiednoel
#ARM is very excited, TSMC has powerpoints about FinFet … 😉 powerpoint … From PPT to FAB, about 3 years…


Francois Piednoel ‏@FPiednoel

well, from the moment you start ordering your tooling to a process, there are definitively 3 years … you need to cut on cafe.

Francios is a career Intel engineer so he is certainly not speaking from firsthand experience. There is also a winky face so he can claim humor but it is being repeated as a fact because that is how the internet works today (just listen to people who believe what you believe). Even though Francios only has 374 followers this one has gone viral and has filled my inbox with chatter.

To be clear:
TSMC and Samsung have released production FinFET PDks and will be accepting FinFET tape-outs this quarter. Production ramping will start in Q4 2014 so you will see FinFET FPGAs and SoCs in the first half of 2015, absolutely. That is 1.5 years, not “about 3 years” Mr Piednoel.

Growing up as a computer guy in Silicon Valley Intel certainly earned my utmost respect. Unfortunately, doing business in and around Intel for the last 30 years has taught me that if people had a choice they would NOT do business with Intel due to arrogant and predatory business practices.

Unfortunately for Intel, people do have a choice in the Chrome book, tablet, and smartphone markets, which by the way are eating the Intel PC and laptop markets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The server market is also at risk now that the legions of ARM licensees are releasing a plethora of low cost and low power 64-bit server products. Let’s see what Q3 brings INTC shareholders next week but I see no real upside here.

In a logical world technology would win every time and Congress would act like a responsible adult but clearly we do not live in an even near logical world. We live in a highly emotionally charged world where Twitter can topple entire Governments much less a 100,000 employee semiconductor company. Just my opinion of course and I will add a winky face here for good measure 😉


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