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Intel ‘Internal’ vs. Pure-Play Foundry Quandary Deepens

Breaking into the contract chip manufacturing business and gaining the trust of the world's biggest fabless semiconductor suppliers will remain difficult goals for Intel Foundry Services as long as it remains an outpost of the microprocessor vendor.

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By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake:
Intel Foundry Services faces a bleak future if the company continues to hang on tightly to the “ownership” strings. Many of the world’s biggest fabless chipmakers will remain on the sidelines if they see Intel as a competitor, which it is. While Intel does not want to spin off its foundry business it should consider deploying an alternate strategy to pull in hesitant potential customers.

Nvidia Corp. is a major force in the artificial intelligence (AI) market. Rival Intel Corp. also wants to “democratize the incredible power of AI” and supply the market with “a full suite of silicon and software to drive AI,” according to CEO Pat Gelsinger. Intel, the world’s No. 1 microprocessor vendor, would also like to have Nvidia as a customer of Intel Foundry Services (IFS), its contract wafer manufacturing division upon which Gelsinger has pinned the company’s future.

Somebody needs a reality check.

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