If you’ve got $10 billion to spare, you might want to consider setting up your own chip foundry. Advanced chip factories, or “foundries” as they are referred within the industry, are essential to modern manufacturing. Not surprisingly, foundries have become a hot topic in recent months as chip shortages continue disrupting global supply chains
“Not content with relying on standard chips that are in high demand, some of the world’s biggest tech firms are developing their own semiconductors,” writes Sam Shead of CNBC. “Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla and Baidu are all shunning established chip firms and bringing certain aspects of chip development in-house, according to company announcements and media reports.”
Setting up advanced foundries isn’t an overnight project. And there’s also a shortage of experienced chip engineers to contend with. As Shead notes in his article, very few silicon experts remain in Silicon Valley, where software is considered “cooler” than hardware.
From my perspective, shortages of chips and chip engineers represent a prime opportunity for Silicon Valley – or perhaps for some other part of the country – to reimagine and reinvent the chip manufacturing industry here in the U.S.
Just because we fumbled the ball on chips in the past doesn’t mean we can’t regain our pre-eminent role in the hardware industry at some point in the future. Maybe these chip-related supply chain issues are a wake-up call that will motivate us to become more competitive in this critical area of the global technology ecosystem. If that happens, the inconveniences associated with supply chain disruptions might serve a useful purpose. Your thoughts?
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