Intel has achieved all the goals it set in its journey to regain leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, according to executives in charge of the effort. At a press conference in SAN FRANCISCO on Monday, Intel’s vice president and head of technology development, Ann Kelleher, said: “We hit milestones every quarter, and depending on those milestones we are either ahead or on track”
Intel Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger has vowed to regain leadership in production technology, formerly one of the foundations of the company’s decades of dominance in the $580 billion industry. Kelleher’s team is trying to make up for the chipmaker’s delay in delivering a manufacturing technique that arrived five years later than originally promised. The group is accelerating the effort to introduce new processes at an unprecedented pace.
If Gelsinger’s plan succeeds, Intel stands to reverse market share losses to rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Nvidia Corp. Better manufacturing also allows Intel to attract customers. The CEO is looking to compete with Taiwan Semiconductor for other chip companies. According to Kelleher, Intel is taking a much more pragmatic approach than it has in the past, building contingency plans to prevent further significant delays. She also relies on the help of equipment vendors rather than trying to do all the work herself, she said.
Kelleher, who has worked for the Santa Clara, Calif-based company for more than 30 years, said: “We don’t have to lead everything.” Intel is looking to improve manufacturing capacity to cope with falling revenue and a sharp drop in demand for PCs which account for more than half of its revenue. The company said in October that measures such as downsizing factories and curtailing spending on new plants would save it $3 billion next year, with annual savings of up to $10 billion by the end of 2025.
Improving the productivity of chips and improving in smaller nanometers, billionths of a meter, will improve the efficiency of the factory and improve the efficiency of data of storage and processing of electronic components. Intel is currently mass-processing 7-nanometer chips. According to Kelleher, it is ready to begin manufacturing 4-nanometer semiconductors and will be ready to move to 3-nanometer in the second half of 2023. Originally a measure of the body of a transistor, the term nanometer is now used a little more loosely to indicate how advanced a company is compared to its competitors.
Kelleher, who has built up his career after starting working in Intel’s factories, takes a sober view of the marketing terminology used to compare technological prowess across industries. “There’s nothing in seven bars. You can call me ‘George,” she said. Terms such as 7-nanometers have little relevance to the real world of chip manufacturing today, but Kelleher is committed to restoring Intel’s shine. She said the budget was secured and would not be affected by the company’s cost cuts.
Today, TSMC and Samsung are widely credited with overtaking Intel in production technology. The Taiwanese company was a pioneer in manufacturing chips for other companies, and both companies now play a central role in the global supply chain. This includes manufactured components from companies such as Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc., Amazon Inc., and Intel’s direct competitors such as AMD and Nvidia.
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