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Intel 14nm Foundry Business

Cringely, I, Cringely, Why Intel wants to be everyone’s chip maker, here. Cringely pushing the analysis that Intel go to the lower margin foundry business so that they get a shot to buy the Next Big Thing early with their cash reserves.

At Intel’s annual shareholders’ meeting last week the company talked about moving strongly into mobile chips and selling its stillborn OnCue over-the-top video streaming service, but the most important story had to do with expanding Intel’s manufacturing capacity. This latter news is especially important because if you look at the square footage of 14 nanometer fab facilities Intel says it will be bringing online in the next two to three years it appears that the company will shortly have more production capacity than all the rest of the semiconductor industry combined.

Not just more 14 nm production capacity, we’re talking about more total production capacity than all Intel competitors together.

This is fascinating news for several reasons. First, at $5+ billion per fab you don’t add 3-4 new ones without a darned good reason for doing so. Second, it takes so long to plan and build these plants that this part of Intel’s strategic plan had to have been in the works for years before the company ever mentioned it in public. So it’s not like new Intel CEO Brian Krzanich moved into his office and said, “Let’s build some new fabs.”

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