- Financial results from Intel and ASML highlight the semiconductor supply/demand imbalance
- Security issues are at stake, prompting a review of critical supply chains
- Apple sidesteps problems with a design of its own
The market had enhanced expectations for Intel Corp’s (US: INTC) Q1 returns, at least judging by the number of upward earnings revisions this year. After strong showings from global rivals, the California-based group delivered revenues and a gross margin in advance of Wall Street expectations. Analysts were also looking for a steer on how the ongoing global semiconductor shortages are affecting US chip makers. Pat Gelsinger, the group's new chief executive, repeated the view that the problem is likely to persist into 2023. Around $20bn (£14.4bn) has been allocated to build the group's foundry capability, which probably would have been necessary regardless of the global supply shortfall. As Gelsinger points out "there are over 400m PCs running Windows 10 that are over four years old today, which is an enormous PC refresh opportunity".
Indeed, demand for semiconductors, including high-end, technologically advanced versions, has grown steadily over the past decade in line with smartphone access. But demand for microprocessors surged through 2020, partly due to shelter-in-place edicts. That meant that an already tight supply/demand balance tilted decisively in favour the latter.