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A group of U.S. chip companies, including Intel, Qualcomm, Micron, and AMD, have today sent a letter to President Joe Biden to request "funding for incentives," while Apple supplier TSMC is undertaking a considerable expansion as chip demand outstrips supply (via Reuters).

tsmc_semiconductor_chip_inspection_678x452.jpg


The letter to the President asked for "substantial funding for incentives for semiconductor manufacturing" to be included in his economic recovery and infrastructure plans. The letter from the U.S. firms noted that the U.S. share of semiconductor manufacturing has dropped from 37 percent in 1990 to 12 percent today.

This is largely because the governments of our global competitors offer significant incentives and subsidies to attract new semiconductor manufacturing facilities, while the U.S. does not.

Working with Congress, your administration now has a historic opportunity to fund these initiatives to make them a reality. We believe bold action is needed to address the challenges we face. The costs of inaction are high.

Intel, in particular, has suffered from a myriad of problems. With major client Apple dropping Intel for its own custom silicon, and Microsoft expected to follow suit in the near future, Intel has struggled to deliver technological innovations. This is after the company has repeatedly reported delays with its latest processors, while its main competitor, AMD, has proceeded to capture valuable market share. After a major investor pushed Intel to shake up its entire business model, the company is hoping that new CEO Pat Gelsinger will help it to find its way.

While subsidies for chip manufacturing and semiconductor research have been authorized by Congress, the quantity of funding has yet to be decided. The association of companies hopes to receive significant funding in the form of grants or tax credits to claw back market share.

The formal request comes amid a global shortage of chips, which have hampered the automotive industry and popular games consoles in particular. The majority of the supply of the constrained chips comes from Taiwan and Korea, which have come to dominate the industry in recent years.

EETimes is today reporting that unlike the U.S. firms, TSMC, Apple's main chip supplier, is raising $9 billion from bonds to expand production. The company has approved the establishment of a $186 million subsidiary in Japan to expand research on materials for three-dimensional chips, following unconfirmed reports that TSMC plans to open its first overseas chip-packaging facility in Japan. TSMC also plans to combat U.S. chip makers on home territory this year by opening a new manufacturing facility in the U.S. state of Arizona.

TSMC is currently trying to meet unprecedented demand that exceeds its production capacity as global demand for secure supplies of chips skyrockets, boosting component prices by as much as 15 percent in the past two financial quarters. The chip shortage has not severely affected Apple since TSMC gives it priority over other clients such as Microsoft, Sony, Volkswagen, and Toyota because it holds much larger orders.

Article Link: Intel and AMD Ask for Government Incentives While Apple Supplier TSMC Expands to Meet Unprecedented Demand
 
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mozumder

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2009
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The number of low-skilled manufacturing jobs are minimal in semiconductor plants, but the process technology IP development is a real economic driver. Most of the employment would go towards high-salaried engineers, which in itself is an economic force that we should grow as a country.
 

ELman

macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2017
218
405
The number of low-skilled manufacturing jobs are minimal in semiconductor plants, but the process technology IP development is a real economic driver. Most of the employment would go towards high-salaried engineers, which in itself is an economic force that we should grow as a country.
This sounds good but most companies have an issue with "high-salaried" employees. If they are paying $15 for someone to empty trash what's it going to cost for an engineer?
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,352
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What is the image? I'm under the impression it's a bunch of manufacturered chips, but I'm confused why it seems to be on a copper circle... the chips themselves are all rectangular, are they not? So why are they made as a circle - aren't all the rounded edges a waste of space? Something I think is probably quite wrong...

===

Amazing - ask a question, get heavily downvoted and mostly snarky responses. I'm a computer engineer. I'd wager that 99.99% of people didn't know the answer to my question, and actually, probably the best response I got was this, which, while it mentions the wafer, doesn't actually say why it's round:

Wikipedia has an article on Wafers here:

Wafers are the material that chips are made from. Start with a wafer, and etch the actual design of the chip (using masks) into them. They're round because apparently that's the best way people know how to make them, using this process from 1915: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czochralski_method

Over time, wafers have gotten increasingly large, so that more chips can be cut per wafer and there's less wasted edge material.

I guess that answers my questions? But I want to make sure you all know that you're all elitist and suck. @arn, what's with this community that so despises people for trying to learn stuff?
 
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applicious84

macrumors 6502
Sep 1, 2020
346
720
The economy would be impacted with monthly checks for people, like many other countries are successfully doing. I mean, they could at least stick to their promise of $2,000 checks during the Georgia elections, rather than misleading people by going back and forth from a total of $2,000 to actual checks, valued at $2,000. Also, taking care of undocumented folks who provide so much more to this country than most entitled Americans
 

djcerla

macrumors demi-god
Apr 23, 2015
2,139
10,419
Italy
INTC is about to collapse in the mid term. Not that I do shorts as a habit, but this one is screaming.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,352
5,562
This sounds good but most companies have an issue with "high-salaried" employees. If they are paying $15 for someone to empty trash what's it going to cost for an engineer?
That's where the illegal people come in - they get paid under the table and don't have to make $15/hour like legal people have to. Have a maze of contractors and subcontractors involved so everybody can claim they didn't know what was happening.

Alternatively, automate the trash collection. Chutes and robots don't have to be paid.
 

HacKage

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2010
493
858
What is the image? I'm under the impression it's a bunch of manufacturered chips, but I'm confused why it seems to be on a copper circle... the chips themselves are all rectangular, are they not? So why are they made as a circle - aren't all the rounded edges a waste of space? Something I think is probably quite wrong...
Google "why are wafers round"
 

anthogag

macrumors 6502a
Jan 15, 2015
824
1,002
Canada
Relying on countries like South Korea and Taiwan is nuts. Taiwan's future is not secure with China breathing down its neck.

U.S chip companies could make chips for Apple.
 
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CJM

macrumors 65816
May 7, 2005
1,438
837
U.K.
What is the image? I'm under the impression it's a bunch of manufacturered chips, but I'm confused why it seems to be on a copper circle... the chips themselves are all rectangular, are they not? So why are they made as a circle - aren't all the rounded edges a waste of space? Something I think is probably quite wrong...
Crystal is grown like that and then sliced. I think it's spun, hence round.
 

jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
937
2,774
When the way to wealth is to get the govt to give you other peoples money you are crazy not to be at the table. These companies are all making a perfectly rational choice. It’s where we are now (and have been for a long time).

Yup, the amount of corporate welfare in this country is unbelievable. Congress should be utilizing a lot less carrot and a lot more stick—tax the hell out of companies that ship jobs overseas or levy large financial penalties, instead of throwing money at multi-billion-dollar corporations that turn around and outsource anyway.
 

xxray

macrumors 68000
Jul 27, 2013
1,903
4,396
This is a good thing - for the interest of national security, diversification (rather than relying on one single company so much), for jobs, and for America's competitiveness. I hope Biden listens. Competition is good.
 
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Belly-laughs

macrumors 6502a
Jun 8, 2003
867
43
you wish
What is the image? I'm under the impression it's a bunch of manufacturered chips, but I'm confused why it seems to be on a copper circle... the chips themselves are all rectangular, are they not? So why are they made as a circle - aren't all the rounded edges a waste of space? Something I think is probably quite wrong...
if tsmc made rectangular wafers they would need to invest in a new logo…
 

citysnaps

macrumors G3
Oct 10, 2011
8,511
15,571
San Francisco
Yup, the amount of corporate welfare in this country is unbelievable. Congress should be utilizing a lot less carrot and a lot more stick—tax the hell out of companies that ship jobs overseas or levy large financial penalties, instead of throwing money at multi-billion-dollar corporations that turn around and outsource anyway.

How would you suggest developing the infrastructure to manufacture/test/ship 600,000 iPones per day, that can instantly ramp up/down in volume when needed? And that's just one company and one product.

Lay out a plan for creating that infrastructure that does not exist in the United States. Especially by not using "carrot."
 

archer75

macrumors 68040
Jan 26, 2005
3,084
1,701
Oregon
I don’t think these companies have much issue paying engineers high salaries, they just don’t want to pay the lowly peons a wage they can actually live on.
I work in semiconductors. 26 years now. I would say your statement is a bit backwards. We have increased pay and benefits for entry level but when layoffs were needed we've also cut the highest paid engineers to save money. We hire the "peons" like crazy but are reluctant to higher engineers until we absolutely have to.
 

jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
937
2,774
How would you suggest developing the infrastructure to manufacture/test/ship 600,000 iPones per day, that can instantly ramp up/down in volume when needed? And that's just one company and one product.

Lay out a plan for creating that infrastructure that does not exist in the United States. Especially by not using "carrot."

Oh, I don’t expect that at all. There’s not a chance in hell that we’ll ever see iPhones manufactured in the US, for exactly the reasons you mentioned. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t get certain components manufactured here, or that we can’t keep the extant manufacturing here.
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 603
Dec 7, 2014
6,442
8,321
What is the image?

A wafer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafer_(electronics)

I'm under the impression it's a bunch of manufacturered chips,

A few steps before that.

but I'm confused why it seems to be on a copper circle... the chips themselves are all rectangular, are they not? So why are they made as a circle

You take silicon and spin it. Therefore, you end up with a cylinder. Then you slice that into wafers.

 

jarman92

macrumors 6502a
Nov 13, 2014
937
2,774
I work in semiconductors. 26 years now. I would say your statement is a bit backwards. We have increased pay and benefits for entry level but when layoffs were needed we've also cut the highest paid engineers to save money. We hire the "peons" like crazy but are reluctant to higher engineers until we absolutely have to.

I think we’re kinda saying the same thing...your company hires more entry-level people because they can get away with paying them peanuts, while the engineers require 6-figure salaries.
 
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