Intel announced on Tuesday that it plans to spend $20 billion to build new chipmaking factories. The move aims to show that the company, and the US, are serious about regaining global leadership in a crucial technology. But it also highlights how far Intel and the US have fallen behind.
As part of its plan, Intel said it would open its factories more widely to make chips for other companies, highlighting its manufacturing expertise and ambition. But at the same time, Intel said it would outsource production of some of its most advanced chips to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. TSMC is ahead of Intel in using extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) to put more computer power on a chip by squeezing transistors closer together.
"It's good news for the United States that Intel is doubling down on its manufacturing business," says Saif Khan, a research fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology. "Chip manufacturing is a key source of US economic competitiveness and is also highly relevant to national security."
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