Chip giant Intel will shell out some $8bn and create thousands of jobs to build out chip development and fabrication facilities in the US for its future 22 nanometer PC and server chips. The company said it will upgrade four exiting US wafer-bakers with 22nm equipment, specifically the D1C and D1D fabs in Oregon and the Fab 12 …
So, your mad, then?
It's not good enough that these will be American jobs in a sector of the economy (manufacturing) that is severely hurting in the states? You have to urinate over the decision because Intel would-a-could-a gone elsewhere but couldn't?
Can't we just celebrate the fact that its happening? Sheesh.
A change in the wind
To get the full flavour of this, you had to be in Ireland around the time of the Lisbon Treaty referendum. Intel put ads on the side of the Dublin buses telling us to vote Yes this time if we knew what was good for us. Well, we voted Yes, but sad to say we're still waiting for any sign that Intel intends to upgrade its dusty 65nm fab in Leixlip.
It looks as if Intel sees a new surge of industrial protectionism brewing in the US, and wants to position itself on the right side of it. Being (as you said) a high-margin monopoly producer, it can well afford to swallow high US manufacturing costs as long as its monopoly remains politically favoured and protected.
$8bn for ~1000 jobs?
Can't help but think just giving the money away would make everyone right rich and happy. But then we wouldn't get a 22nm plant to basically do exactly the same thing intel did in 45nm and 90nm and 180nm and.... Their innovation isn't so much in chip design these days.
"Their innovation isn't so much in chip design these days."
It never was, was it? I'll give them some credit for the P6 (out-of-order chips being what killed RISC) but then take it all away for IA64. MMX and x64 both came from AMD (3DNow and, er, amd64). No. Intel's secret is, and for several decades has been, that they are at least half a generation ahead of everyone else in terms of process, so even the crufty old designs they produce are still competitive.
Intel and Oregon is an on-going success
"What's more, you can bet your last dollar or euro that if Intel could get the right kind of intellectual-property assurances from the Chinese government, and if the US Congress wouldn't go completely nuts, it would build more fabs in China and fold up Old Glory in perfect triangles and stuff it into a closet somewhere."
Having worked at Intel and having a pretty good knowledge of Intel, the above statement is wrong. Intel is very well aware that if it takes the short term profit approach that Wall Street demands by doing bleeding edge work in China, etc it will lose it's intellectual strength and ability to compete. Investing in local manufacturing, in a locality already proven highly successful/profitable for Intel, makes perfect sense for a company driven by cutting end technology. Remember Intel's products are not only cutting edge but equally important is their manufacturing capability for their products. See Andy Grove's take: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-01/how-to-make-an-american-job-before-it-s-too-late-andy-grove.html
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