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Intel Corporation Message Board

  • armh_sux armh_sux Jan 20, 2012 9:41 AM Flag

    EXCELLENT article on Intel

    Here’s another really interesting metric that should give you some food for thought: Intel will in 2012 spend $12.5 billion on capital expenditures. That’s more than twice what it spent last year. What is it spending so lavishly on? Four new chip factories, one in Oregon and one in Arizona, one in China and one in Israel, that will, when completed turn out chips built on the very latest, edge-of-reality technology, where chips have transistors and other elements on them that are at the 14-nanometer scale.

    How small is 14 nanometers? About one-fifth the size of a typical virus cell, and only slightly bigger than the thickness of the cell wall of a typical germ. Next year there will be four factories employing thousands of people turning out thousands and later millions of these miniscule fragments of silicon that arguably constitute some of the most complex implements that mankind has ever built.

    And Intel does this profitably, which is so difficult and requires such financial scale that most companies that make other kinds of chips long ago gave up running their own factories and farmed the work of actually building them to other companies. Intel is so good at it that its gross margins in 2011 were 62.5%. Its full profit for the year was nearly $13 billion on $54 billion in sales.

    Yes we beat on Intel for not having conquered the smart phone industry or the tablet industry as readily as it spent the 1990s bending the PC industry to its will. There is a school of thought that Intel is less relevant today than it was say five years ago, and that its anemic presence in the future of personal computing — smart phones and tablets — is all the evidence one needs to render that judgement. In fairness smart phones and tablets are still on the rise and Intel is starting to show some promising progress, though its competition and an industry-wide preference for chips based on the ARM architecture will be difficult to dislodge.

    Still, it’s a little hard to find much fault with Intel when the numbers so clearly demonstrate that despite the conventional wisdom, it is clearly at the height of its powers.

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