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That Severe Auto IC Shortage? It Will Happen Soon Again

Huge sums are pouring into building new chip fabs, but the focus on next-gen nodes is misplaced. The last shortages arose from insufficient capacity in the older nodes. That’s where they will crop up again.
Michael Hurlston
Michael Hurlston, CEO at Synaptics

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By Bolaji Ojo

What’s at stake?
The electronics supply chain is broken and needs a full course of treatment. But industry and governments worldwide are pouring resources mainly into ensuring the availability of leading-edge products. The auto IC supply chain is on the other end, though. That was where the disequilibrium started and where it was most noticeable. Not fixing it portents more trouble, says an industry executive.

Michael Hurlston is an engineer and not a physician. But he could easily be that health expert warning clients against not completing the full course of their immunization. The virus may mutate and become direly resistant to future treatments, Hurlston might say.

A semiconductor industry veteran and CEO at fabless chipmaker Synaptics Inc., Hurlston’s expertise diverges strongly from medicine. But after witnessing many of the semiconductor industry’s cyclical swings, Hurlston can identify the roots of the recent supply shortages that drove panic buying and crippled many automotive manufacturing plants over the last couple of years.

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