Will the workings of Intel's future chips be impenetrable?
That's what Paul Otellini hinted at the Bernstein Analyst Meeting awhile back. That the geometries are so small, dense and intricate, that any attempt by a competitor to deconstruct a chip will destroy it in the process.
Quote from the CEO: "And reverse engineering through destructive analysis was very much possible, You could sort of figure it out. You get to the dimensions that we are at today, and reverse engineering destroys the part in a way that you can't analyze it. So, you know there's Hafnium in there, but you have no idea how we use it, what the proportions are. So, it's becoming more difficult for everybody to, sort of, ride the coattails, either as equipment manufacturers or as device manufacturers."
Don't know if he means 22nm or 14nm. Don't know how much weight to put on this statement but if true it seems like it would be a gamechanger. From what I've seen in several sectors of the business world, so many outfits would be out-of-luck if they couldn't imitate the sector leader. Imitation is a way for a company to cheaply excel beyond its native capabilities.