According to an executive in charge of the effort, Intel Corp. has met all its targets to regain its leadership position in semiconductor manufacturing.
Ann Kelleher (Intel Vice President), the head of technology development said Monday that “We are completely on track.” We do quarterly milestones and according to those milestones, we are either ahead or on target.”
Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s Chief Executive Officer, has pledged to regain the leadership in production technology. This was once a foundation of Intel’s dominance in the $580billion industry for decades. Kelleher’s team is working to rectify the delay by Intel in delivering a manufacturing technology five years after it was promised. This group is working at an unprecedented speed to bring new processes to market.
Intel will reverse market share losses to Nvidia Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. if Gelsinger’s plan is successful. Intel will be able to attract more customers to support its CEO’s efforts to take on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and Samsung Electronics Co. in their growing business of contract manufacture — producing semiconductors for other chip company.
Kelleher stated that Intel has taken a more pragmatic approach to its work than ever before, and is creating contingency plans in order to avoid major delays. She also said that Intel is relying more heavily on equipment vendors to help rather than trying and do all the work.
Kelleher, who is a Santa Clara, California-based company veteran for over 30 years, said that Intel in the past had high walls when it came to not sharing. “We don’t have to be the leader in everything.”
Intel is working to improve its manufacturing capabilities, as it faces declining revenues and a sharp drop in personal computer sales. The company announced in October that it will reduce its headcount and spend less on new plants next year. Annual savings could reach $10 billion by 2025.
Better production of chips — which are smaller in number of nanometers or billionthsof a meter, makes factories more efficient. It also improves the ability to store and process data more efficiently.
Intel currently produces 7-nanometer chips in mass production. Kelleher stated that the company is ready to begin manufacturing 4-nanometer semiconductors. In the second half 2023, it will be ready for 3 nanometers. Nanometer was originally a measurement of the main portion of a transistor. However, it is now used loosely to indicate how advanced companies are in comparison to their competitors.
Kelleher, who started in Intel’s factories and worked her way up to the top, has a pragmatic view of the terminology used to describe technology capabilities.
She said, “Seven measures nothing, it might as well be called ‘George’.”
Kelleher is determined to restore Intel’s shine, even though terms such as 7 nanometer may seem irrelevant in the real world of chip production. Kelleher stated that her budget is secure, and will not be affected by the company’s cost cuts.
TSMC and Samsung are often credited with having surpassed Intel in production technology. Both companies are part of the global supply chain and were pioneers in making chips for other companies. This includes components for companies like Apple Inc. Qualcomm Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Nvidia Direct.