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What Seeking Alpha is Telling us about Intel

What Seeking Alpha is Telling us about Intel
by Daniel Nenni on 06-25-2014 at 9:00 am

 New Media is a double edged sword for sure. The good news is that you get to read articles by people who actually work in the semiconductor industry. The bad news is that hidden agendas and disinformation abound so let the reader beware, especially if that reader is risking their retirement money!

As I mentioned before, “Understand what people say but also understand why they are saying it” and this definitely applies to Intel articles on Seeking Alpha (SA). One of the biggest SA Intel shills is Mr. Russ Fischer who is listed as a retired 35 year semiconductor professional, investor, and a MENSA member. This makes me wonder where Mr. Fischer spent his 35 years as a semiconductor professional? According to my expert speculation by the way Russ Fischer writes, he was a career Intel employee, absolutely.

The Seeking Alpha site attracts shills like moths to a flame by allowing investors to write about stocks they own and even paying them a penny per click for their efforts. Let’s look at a post Russ made to support my expert speculation that I can spot an Intel employee by the silly comments they make about the fabless semiconductor ecosystem. Let’s start with these three gems from his recent article “Intel: Perception versus Reality”.


  • Intel will conquer the mobile business (only an Intel employee would say that).
  • TSMC went gate last only after Chairman Morris Chang dictated that TSMC follow Intel(I have heard this omyth from other Intel employees).
  • The rest of the industry is struggling with 20nm planar processes with no sign of an answer to TriGate for another couple of years, if ever(only Intel employees call FinFETs TriGate).

    First and foremost, Intel has a long LONG way to go before they “conquer” mobile and they are losing billions of dollars in the process. Remember, if not for the fabless semiconductor ecosystem “mobile” as we now know it would not have happened so show some respect here. What do you call an IDM that underestimates the power of the fabless semiconductor ecosystem? Fab-lite…

    Second, during one of my Taiwan trips in 2010 I asked Dr. Shang-yi Chiang why TSMC decided on Gate-last versus Gate-first. Shang-yi was TSMC’s Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, he joined TSMC in July 1997 as Vice President of Research and Development (R&D) and has successfully delivered many new process technologies including 28nm. Shang-yi told me quite honestly that TSMC had both Gate-first and Gate-last 28nm HKMG architectures under consideration but concluded that, yes, Gate-first is simpler (less manufacturing steps) and would be easier to design to (less restrictive) but it was much harder to yield, especially for complex SoCs. The rest is history. TSMC successfully implemented Gate-last 28nm and achieved a dominant market share as a result.

    Third, 20nm is already in production and FinFETs will arrive in 1H 2015 as planned. The irony here is that Russ completely skips over the Intel 14nm yield “struggle” and the resulting delays. Introducing new process technologies have always involved unforeseen challenges. How does a 35 year semiconductor professional MENSA not know this? The important thing is how you face these challenges and how you collaborate with your customers and partners along the way.

    It really is a shame that Russ is disgracing his former employer in this fashion for a penny per click. I would not be surprised if Intel asked him to remove his employment record on his SA profile. Semiconductor executives should all know that history has shown if customers have a choice they will not do business with a company that does not play well with others, absolutely.

    More Articles by Daniel Nenni…

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