Ordering TSMC and changing coaches, Intel fired the first shot in 2021

There is a saying in Lu’s Spring and Autumn Period: “If you lose an order, the city will die.” This sentence can also be used in business. A good leader is very important to a company, such as Su Zifeng of AMD, Huang Renxun of NVIDIA, and now the giant Intel is about to change its coach.

On the evening of the 13th, Intel announced that its current CEO Bob Swan will step down on February 15, and the company’s new CEO is Pat Gelsinger (Pat Gelsinger). Affected by this news, Intel’s stock price rose 10%. %about.

Former Lang Si Ruibo

Bob Swan is Intel’s 7th full-time CEO so far, and the first non-technical CEO of Intel in more than 50 years. Intel’s previous CEOs all have rich experience in the semiconductor industry.

Si Ruibo was originally the CFO of Intel. After the former CEO was caught in negative news and resigned, he served as the acting CEO for 7 months, and then turned positive in June 2018. Although the incumbent Si Ruibo did not do too badly, he did not lead Intel to make a breakthrough, and the 10nm process was delayed for a long time (this cannot be all blamed on Si Ruibo), especially in the past two years that Intel was defeated by AMD After catching up, “AMD YES” has become “an unbroken stone” on Intel’s chest.

According to the sales of AMD and Intel processors in November 2020 released by MindFactory, Germany’s largest retailer, on the list of best-selling processors, AMD dominates the top 11 and occupies 17 of the top 20. In addition, according to relevant data, AMD’s desktop CPU market share is 49.8%, and Intel’s is 50.2%. This is the first time AMD has been neck and neck with Intel in 14 years.

During the tenure of Si Ruibo, Intel also gave up the mobile baseband business and eventually sold this business to Apple, and then Apple killed Intel through self-developed M1 chips, which may become a major factor that prompted Si Ruibo to step down. incentives.

Pat Kissinger

Compared with Si Ruibo, Pat Kissinger is definitely a veteran of the IT industry. He received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1985 and worked at Intel for 30 years. The birth of several key industry technologies including USB and Wi-Fi.

In addition, he holds eight patents in VLSI design, computer architecture and communications, is the architect of the 80486 processor prototype, and more importantly, has been CEO of VMware since September 2012, during his tenure , the company has almost doubled in size, and the leadership is outstanding.

According to a statement from Intel, Intel’s change of coach at this time is to hope that Kissinger can use his expertise to lead Intel out of the “critical transition period”, from the previous CPU company to a multi-architecture XPU company. In short, PC and server chips with x86 architecture extend to a broader chip market. It can be seen that Apple’s impact on Intel is not too big.

For Kissinger, on the one hand, Intel under his leadership has to transform, compete with the Arm camp represented by Apple and Microsoft, and also need to resist the impact from AMD, plus solve the backward process problems, the task is not Can be described as not heavy.

In addition, NVIDIA is also eyeing the rear. In 2017, NVIDIA’s market value barely exceeded 100 billion US dollars. Now NVIDIA’s market value is not only more than Intel’s, but also equal to the sum of Intel and AMD. If NVIDIA successfully acquires Arm, then for Intel The threat is greater.

Big winner TSMC

At almost the same time as Intel’s coaching change, the long-rumored news of the outsourcing of chip manufacturing business also settled. This time Intel did not choose Samsung, but TSMC.

According to the Semiconductor Research Office of TrendForce, Intel currently outsources about 15-20% of non-CPU IC manufacturing, mainly in TSMC and UMC.

In 2021, the Core i3 CPU product is being released to TSMC’s 5nm, and mass production is expected to start in the second half of the year; in addition, in the medium and long term, it is also planned to outsource the mid-to-high-end CPU, and it is expected to start production at TSMC in the second half of 2022. 3nm related products.

Judging from the above news, Intel’s new CEO is not obsessed with his own foundry, and wants to balance Apple and AMD’s two rivals by leveraging the power of TSMC. In fact, due to the slow progress of Intel’s advanced manufacturing process, investors are considering whether Intel should continue to increase the foundry business.

At present, handing over some chip orders to TSMC can not only obtain support from advanced processes and advanced packaging, but also maintain high-margin self-developed production lines and capital expenditures, allowing Intel to free up more funds and time to deploy in other areas. .

It is worth noting that after winning the order from Intel, TSMC has basically won all the major PC and mobile chip manufacturers. AMD and NVIDIA are traditional allies of TSMC. The joining of Intel allows TSMC to control almost all major PC customers. On the mobile side, it goes without saying that Apple and MediaTek are old friends of TSMC, and Qualcomm’s recent Snapdragon 888 uses Samsung’s 5nm process. Once it was launched, it faced some problems. According to market rumors, Qualcomm’s next product Chip 895 will return to TSMC.

But at the same time, another problem has arisen. Since there are now many large customers and TSMC’s 5nm production capacity is limited, who can use the latest 5nm other than Apple in the future, Qualcomm, Intel, AMD or NVIDIA, or MediaTek ?

high wall

If on the PC side, AMD and Apple have had a violent impact on Intel, then the server market is Intel’s strongest fortress.

In November last year, Intel launched its first discrete graphics card for data centers. This discrete graphics card is based on the Xe LP low-power micro-architecture and is designed for high-density, low-latency Android cloud games and streaming media services.

A month later, Raja Koduri, Intel’s senior vice president and chief architect, posted several Intel’s independent graphics on social media, including the newly released H3C XG310 PCIe GPU expansion card.

Later, Raja Koduri said in the thread that many new GPU products appeared in 2020, such as A100, Xe LP, RTX 3X, Navi2, MI100, M1, and these products promoted the development of GPU. In 2021, Intel and Xe HP/HPG/HPC GPUs will be available, and the golden age of GPUs has arrived.

However, it is worth noting that Intel has announced the Ice Lake server to be released since 2019, which is limited by the 10nm process and delayed several times before announcing that it will enter mass production in the first quarter of this year. During this period, AMD also relies on TSMC. 7nm grabbed a lot of market share from Intel.

Just after the new year, Intel threw out two nuclear bombs, coaching change and foundry outsourcing, which also added fire to the semiconductor market in the next year.

It is foreseeable that in the next year, AMD will continue to make great progress. After this renovation, Intel will definitely have more actions in the new year; The invisible place suddenly kills friends and businessmen by surprise; and whether NVIDIA can convince governments and peers to successfully accept Arm will become its key battle. MediaTek and Qualcomm will continue to be at a stalemate in the mobile phone market, but without HiSilicon, there is indeed less excitement in this market; and all of this will ultimately benefit the silent TSMC.

In short, behind this Intel coaching change is only part of the intensified competition in the semiconductor market. Where Intel will go in the future depends on how this veteran who has been deeply involved in semiconductors for 30 years performs.