Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

A slump in PC sales and crashing cryptocurrency markets appear to be tempering a demand for semiconductors spurred by COVID-19 era supply chain shortages. Inflation is another mitigating factor, as sales of laptops and high-end GPUs for gaming and cryptocurrency mining slacken. Research firm Gartner predicts global PC shipments will contract by 9.5 percent in 2022, with consumer demand projected to decline by 13.5 percent. Enterprise sales are also expected to drop, by 7.2 percent, according to Gartner. Those numbers align with the 10 percent PC sales decline Micron Technology has forecast. Continue reading Decline in Global PC Sales Expected to Impact Chip Demand

Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

The global semiconductor shortage that has plagued the supply chain for the past two years is threatening to affect advanced chips for next-generation smartphones as well as impacting the data centers critical to powering their apps. High-performance chips with tiny transistors had to a large extent sidestepped the scarcities that impacted the auto industry, appliances and basic consumer electronics. Now everything from production volume to manufacturing equipment has analysts worried about whether the world’s top smart chip manufacturers — TSMC and Samsung Electronics — will be able to keep up with customer demand. Continue reading Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

The U.S. Is Now Home to the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

In a big win for the United States, the Department of Energy’s Frontier supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee was ranked No. 1 in the Top500 worldwide performance contest and the first to top the quintillion operations-per-second (exascale) benchmark in a LINPACK test. The Department of Energy has said it will spend a total of $1.8 billion to build three machines with exascale performance. The Frontier, or OLCF-5, supercomputer (which features a theoretical peak performance of 2 exaflops) was built by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and is powered by AMD chips. Continue reading The U.S. Is Now Home to the World’s Fastest Supercomputer

Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Broadcom announced it will acquire VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at $61 billion. The deal, which expands semiconductor supplier Broadcom into enterprise software, is among the top technology transactions of all time, right behind Microsoft’s pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard and Dell’s 2016 acquisition of EMC for $67 billion. Broadcom will also assume $8 billion of VMware debt. The news sent shares of Broadcom up 2 percent and VMware more than 1 percent early Thursday. VMware enterprise products optimize client-side servers as well as cloud servers. Continue reading Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Samsung Announces Plans for $356 Billion Investment in Tech

Samsung says over the next five years it will invest $356 billion in chip production, biopharmaceuticals and other next-gen tech, creating tens of thousands of new jobs. While Samsung says most of the funds — $285 billion — will be spent in South Korea, the Seoul-based electronics giant also has operations in the U.S., Canada, the UK and Philippines. That new plan marks a 30 percent increase in Samsung’s spending over the previous five-year period and is a considerable expansion over earlier budgeting. Memory chip manufacturing and 6G wireless are among the areas to benefit from the new investment. Continue reading Samsung Announces Plans for $356 Billion Investment in Tech

Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

President Biden kicked-off his three-day visit to South Korea with a trip to a Samsung Electronics semiconductor plant, emphasizing an interest in strengthening supply chains and boosting competition with China in the technology sector. Biden remarked that the U.S. wants to shore-up business ties with allies including South Korea to offset the influence of  “countries that don’t share our values.” Located in Pyeongtaek, the plant churns out some of Samsung’s most advanced memory chips and is the largest semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was present, marking the pair’s first in-person visit. Continue reading Biden Visits a Samsung Semiconductor Plant in South Korea

Apple Eyes the Modem Chip Market Dominated by Qualcomm

Apple is reportedly poised to compete in the modem market. The company is said to be laying the groundwork to create chips that control the Internet connectivity of its mobile devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. In theory, the move paves the way for an always-on future where smart glasses and augmented reality achieve ubiquity, and iPhones and other Apple mobile devices have faster download and streaming speeds. Observers say Cupertino’s high bar to entry means creating a chip that outperforms those made by Qualcomm, current manufacturer of Apple’s connectivity chips. Continue reading Apple Eyes the Modem Chip Market Dominated by Qualcomm

Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

Apple’s fiscal Q2 was one of the best quarters in its 46 years of business. The company reported record revenue of $97.3 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year, far outperforming analyst expectations of $94 billion. More than $28 billion in operating cash flow and a return of nearly $27 billion to Apple shareholders resulted in the January through March period. But Apple warned that the outlook could dim in the current quarter, with China’s COVID-19 resurgence threatening to slow manufacturing, stymying sales by anywhere from $4 billion to $8 billion in fiscal Q3. Continue reading Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is reporting first quarter 2022 revenue between $17.6 billion and $18.2 billion, a 35.5 percent increase year-over-year. Compared to Q4 2021, the first quarter results represent a 12.1 percent revenue uptick and 22 percent growth in net income. This, despite ongoing fallout from supply chain shortages that company CEO C.C. Wei says he expects will continue triggering production constraints. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, where the company has a plant, were cited as the most significant stressors to the company’s semiconductor output. Continue reading TSMC Posts Record Q1 Profits Despite Continuing Shortages

Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Nikon Corp. is restyling itself from a company that primarily manufactures cameras to one that supplies components to other businesses. Its consumer market share eroded by smartphone image systems, the Japanese company’s revenue also plunged, dropping by about 50 percent since its 2013 peak of $8 billion. In February, Nikon upped its revenue forecast for the year ended March 31 to $4.35 billion, more than $370 million of it projected as operating profit, thanks in large part to components, which is expected to earn more profit than any other division, nosing past imaging. Continue reading Nikon Offsets Shrinking Camera Sales with Tech Components

Intel Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

The competition for global computer chip dominance depends largely on who can create the smallest components with the most advanced capabilities. So far, Taiwan-based TSMC leads, and the nation accounts for more than 90 percent of global production of advanced chips. By comparison, the U.S. claims about a 12 percent share, prompting the government to cite reliance on foreign-made processors as a cause of inflation and a national security threat. California-based Intel is heeding the challenge, spending billions on initiatives for AI computing, a high-end microprocessor plant expansion in Arizona and new plant in Ohio. Continue reading Intel Vies for Lead in an Increasingly Complex Chip Business

China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact

The supply chain crunch is about to worsen due to a phased shutdown of Shanghai that began Monday, say recent reports. The coastal city of 26 million people — a seat of international finance and business, and home to the world’s biggest container-shipping port — finds itself grappling with its worst COVID-19 outbreak to date. Authorities have switched from temporary neighborhood lockdowns to a mandatory citywide shutdown in a phased implementation whose stage two runs Friday to Tuesday. China’s biggest chipmaker, however, and an iPhone plant are continuing to operate under strict rules in Shanghai. Continue reading China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact

Nvidia Introduces New Architecture to Power AI Data Centers

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced a host of new AI tech geared toward data centers at the GTC 2022 conference this week. Available in Q3, the H100 Tensor Core GPUs are built on the company’s new Hopper GPU architecture. Huang described the H100 as the next “engine of the world’s AI infrastructures.” Hopper debuts in Nvidia DGX H100 systems designed for enterprise. With data centers, “companies are manufacturing intelligence and operating giant AI factories,” Huang said, speaking from a real-time virtual environment in the firm’s Omniverse 3D simulation platform. Continue reading Nvidia Introduces New Architecture to Power AI Data Centers

Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

Intel unveiled plans to invest an initial $19 billion to construct new leading-edge semiconductor fab mega-sites in Magdeburg, Germany; an R&D and design hub in France; and R&D, manufacturing and foundry facilities in Ireland, Italy, Poland and Spain. The plan could see as much as $88 billion invested “along the entire semiconductor value chain” in the EU over the decade, according to the Santa Clara-based chipmaker, which says it wants to introduce a next-generation chip ecosystem while offsetting reliance on Asia for a more “resilient supply chain.” Continue reading Intel Powers Up EU Chip Plans with $19 Billion German Plant

COVID Surge Triggers Factory Closures in China’s Tech Hubs

A recent COVID-19 surge in China has resulted in the temporary closure of electronics and automobile factories in the manufacturing hubs of Shenzhen and Changchun. In Shenzhen, iPhone supplier Foxconn announced it is halting operations in compliance with local government policy. The city has been placed on lockdown for at least a week, with all inhabitants to undergo three rounds of testing following the discovery of 86 new COVID-19 cases. Recent outbreaks in 28 of China’s 31 provinces have infected more than 15,000 people, primarily with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, according to China’s National Health Commission. Continue reading COVID Surge Triggers Factory Closures in China’s Tech Hubs