Global Competition Ramps Up in the Semiconductor Industry

In light of the U.S. ban on selling chips and chipmaking technology to China, that country has raised $38 billion so far this year with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, that number — achieved through public offerings, private placements and asset sales — is “more than double” the total raised in 2019. Corporate registration tracker Tianyancha stated that 50,000+ Chinese businesses related to semiconductors registered this year, four times the total five years ago. Meanwhile, Seoul-based Samsung is investing heavily in its own next-generation chip business, ramping up competition in the semiconductor sector. Continue reading Global Competition Ramps Up in the Semiconductor Industry

The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

Apple unveiled a new M1 microchip, designed in-house, which chief executive Tim Cook said is “by far the most powerful chip that we have ever created.” Aimed at offering faster performance and longer battery life, the company said that the M1 integrated into the new super-thin MacBook Air (priced starting at $999) will run 3.5 times faster than the past generation. Without a fan, the device will run silently. The M1 will also be installed in a 13-inch MacBook Pro, starting at $1,299, and the Mac mini, starting at $699. Continue reading The New Mac Lineup Touts Apple’s Own Powerful M1 Chips

AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) agreed to pay $35 billion in stock to acquire Xilinx, which will enable it to diversify into chips for 5G wireless communications and automotive electronics. The company, which has some of the strongest sales in its 51-year history, has traditionally been Intel’s rival for computer chips. With Xilnix, AMD could also provide components for data centers and compete with Nvidia in that space. The all-stock deal is still topped by Nvidia’s plan to purchase UK chipmaker Arm for $40 billion. Continue reading AMD Acquires Xilinx: Opens Door for 5G, Data Center Chips

Huawei Produces 5G Base Stations, Phones Despite U.S. Ban

In anticipation of the Trump administration’s sanctions, Huawei Technologies spent months stockpiling critical radio chips so Chinese carriers could continue to roll out 5G, through at least 2021. In late 2019, its partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) boosted production of Huawei’s 7nm Tiangang communication chips, used in 5G base stations, shipping more than two million of them ahead of sanctions taking effect. Under these conditions, Huawei unveiled its new Mate 40 series smartphones. Continue reading Huawei Produces 5G Base Stations, Phones Despite U.S. Ban

Nvidia Purchase of Arm Signals Inflection Point in Computing

If Nvidia acquires Arm Ltd. in the next few weeks, which many experts predict will happen, the company may be in the position to dominate the next computing ecosystem. Jefferies semiconductor analyst Mark Lipacis notes that, the computer industry goes through a “strategic inflection point” every 15 years, with research showing that dominant players in each era account for 80 percent of the profits. Different ecosystems are the result of “multi-pronged” strategy by those companies that come out on top. Continue reading Nvidia Purchase of Arm Signals Inflection Point in Computing

Intel Further Delays 7-Nano Chips and Considers Outsourcing

Although Intel posted stronger earnings in Q2, largely due to the remote working environment created by COVID-19, the company revealed a now 12-month delay in producing 7-nanometer chips that are the foundation of future CPUs. With the news, Intel’s shares dropped in after-hours trading. The company faces competition from rival AMD and is expected to lose about 3 percent in revenue when Apple switches to its own chips. Intel chief executive Bob Swan broached the idea of continuing to design chips but outsourcing their production. Continue reading Intel Further Delays 7-Nano Chips and Considers Outsourcing

China Trades With U.S. Ally Japan as 5G War Gathers Speed

The U.S. banned use of Huawei Technologies’ 5G gear to slow down China’s dominance in the arena, and yesterday the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats. Meanwhile, U.S. ally Japan is trying to avoid conflict with both countries, while purchasing 500,000+ Huawei 5G base stations at a cost of $150 billion to install throughout the country by the end of 2020. Japanese companies such as Murata Manufacturing also purvey 5G components to global tech companies, including those in China. Murata Manufacturing chair Tsuneo Murata noted that 5G is “a very promising market for our parts.” Continue reading China Trades With U.S. Ally Japan as 5G War Gathers Speed

Apple Confirms Transition From Intel Chips to Its Own Design

At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this week, Apple revealed that after years of development, it’s ready to replace Intel’s chips with its own custom-made ARM processors. Apple will be able to customize its circuitry for AI, 3D image rendering and other specific uses, with a focus on powerful, energy-efficient processors. The company expects its migration to silicon to take about two years, with its first ARM-based Macs shipping later this year. It will continue to ship Intel-based Macs in the short term and says it plans years of support for Macs with Intel processors. Continue reading Apple Confirms Transition From Intel Chips to Its Own Design

Commerce Department Tech Ban Checks Huawei’s 5G Plans

When the U.S. Commerce Department banned chipmakers that use U.S. technology from supplying their products to Huawei, it crippled the Chinese company’s ability to build out 5G networks. Specifically, all semiconductor manufacturers use U.S. technology to build components integrated into 5G base stations. Research firm EJL Wireless Research did a teardown of a 2019 Huawei base station and determined the ban will impact “dozens of critical components.” Huawei said its 5G launches and operations will be disrupted by the ban. Continue reading Commerce Department Tech Ban Checks Huawei’s 5G Plans

Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

As early as June 22, at its annual developer conference WWDC, Apple may reveal its plan to replace Intel chipsets with its own internally developed ones, code-named Kalamata. Sources indicate that announcing Kalamata this time of year will give third-party developers time to shift gears before the new Macs debut in 2021. Apple’s new chips will be based on the same technology as those in iPhones and iPads, although Macs will continue to run the macOS operating system rather than iOS software of the mobile devices. Continue reading Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

Huawei Holds the Most 5G Patents, But Still Needs U.S. Tech

In May, the U.S. Commerce Department banned the sale of any semiconductors made with U.S. software to China’s 5G behemoth Huawei Technologies. Now, that company’s stockpile of chips essential to its telecom business is dwindling, likely to run out by early 2021. According to sources, Huawei executives have yet to come up with a solution and, without one, the U.S. move is on track to disrupt China’s $500 billion 5G rollout. In the long-run, it could also sideline that country’s goal of dominating 5G globally

Continue reading Huawei Holds the Most 5G Patents, But Still Needs U.S. Tech

China to Invest $1.4 Trillion in Domestic Technology by 2025

To gain global leadership, Chinese president Xi Jinping plans to invest $1.4 trillion dollars by 2025 in key technology areas, including 5G wireless networks, cameras and sensors, and AI for autonomous vehicles, automated factories and mass surveillance among other sectors. Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Huawei Technologies and SenseTime Group will likely benefit, as China reduces its reliance on U.S. companies. The Trump administration is leveraging its relationship with Taiwan as one way to fight back. Continue reading China to Invest $1.4 Trillion in Domestic Technology by 2025

New Trade Rule Further Restricts Huawei Access to U.S. Tech

The Trump administration intensified its battle with Huawei Technologies by issuing a new rule that bans Huawei and its global suppliers from using U.S.-made machinery and software to design or produce chips. Companies can apply for an exception to the measure, but the Trump administration stated these requests will likely be denied. Semiconductor Industry Association president and CEO John Neuffer said his group is worried that the rules would “create uncertainty and disruption for the global semiconductor supply chain.” Continue reading New Trade Rule Further Restricts Huawei Access to U.S. Tech

Ampere Debuts High-Performance 80-Core ARM-Based Chip

Ampere introduced the industry’s first-ever 80-core ARM-based 64-bit server processor — the Ampere Altra processor — for use in cloud and edge computing data centers. The move puts the company in direct competition with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. Intel currently has 95.5 percent of the server chip market, with AMD taking the rest. The Ampere Altra, which runs on 210 watts, is aimed at artificial intelligence, cloud-native applications, data analytics, database, edge computing, storage, telco stacks and web hosting. Continue reading Ampere Debuts High-Performance 80-Core ARM-Based Chip

Intel Earnings Rise with Increased Data Center, PC Demand

Starting in Q4 2019, chipmakers — including Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing — began enjoying an upswing in demand that led to better sales and earnings. Data centers and personal computers appear to be fueling the increased demand. Intel, for example, reported that “adjusted earnings per share in [that] quarter rose to $1.52 from $1.28 in the year-prior period.” FactSet analysts predicted only $1.25 per share on an adjusted basis and $19.23 billion in sales. In fact, sales rose 8 percent to $20.21 billion. Continue reading Intel Earnings Rise with Increased Data Center, PC Demand

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