The events that transpired with Intel in 2020 were amazing, to say the least, and its journey is nothing short but a roller coaster ride. The company was ready to ride on the success of its 7nm process node. But then everything went wrong. In the summer of 2021, Intel declared its comeback and announced that it will yet again be crowned as the un-disputed chip-making king of the world.
Intel was forced to admit that it would be severely delaying its 7nm node, recently rebranded as Intel 4. However, that was not the end of problems for Intel as the company faced competition as it had never experienced before. AMD swept most of its data centre market underneath its feet, and the emergence of Apple’s M1 chip made Intel lose one of its major customers. All this and adding the chip shortage crisis has even forced intel to outsource its manufacturing.
Now that Intel has a new CEO, and as we know, there is an unprecedented demand for semiconductor chips, the company has set rather ambitious goals and claimed that it would be a global chip leader by 2025.
However, the delay of its much advertised and poised 7nm process node made intel fall from its high-horse, and the market loses confidence in the brand.
“For all of its history, until recently, manufacturing was one of the magic things that were going on at Intel — part of the secret sauce of Intel was the manufacturing innovations, and that’s why 7nm was such a big embarrassment,”
Intel has made several delays in the past, but the final blow came in 2020 when it announced the delay in producing its 7nm process nodes. This delay not only made intel lose face but also resulted in the loss of its potential customer. And Apple had enough.
The Cupertino readily announced its switch to Arm chips, and this announcement was enough for the world to understand that Intel’s chips are just not enough, and the brand had lost its crown.
“When we make bold changes, it’s for one simple yet powerful reason: so we can make much better products,” announced Tim Cook, stating that the decision to leave Intel behind was a necessary choice to let the Mac leap forward.
However, the possibly biggest blow came to Intel after it revealed its Q2 2020 earnings, stating that it had identified a “defect mode” in its 7nm process, derailing progress by at least a year. The chips now poised for a possible end 2021 launch are now pushed to 2023.
And this gave another chip manufacturer like TSMC to yet again gain momentum in the global chips race. This even further benefitted intel’s biggest rival, AMD, as it is one of the top customers of TSMC. And the interesting fact is that TSMC is already mass producing its 7nm process nodes which AMD has been utilizing since 2019, and in 2022, AMD will release chips based on TSMCs 5nm process node. During that time, Intel will have difficulty coming up with anything to fight against 5nm powered Zen4 AMD chips.
Not to mention the fact that TSMC is already gearing to manufacture 2nm process nodes and setting a production plant for it. It seems that intel’s dream of becoming a global leader in the chip market by 2025 will only be a dream in the end.