The world runs on microchips. Not just the elaborate ones at the heart of your phone or laptop but mostly a lot of ordinary ones that you aren’t even aware of. They enable the power windows in your car and the timer in your coffee maker. But a chip shortage is dog washing booths to . Now what?, from
“A year ago people stopped buying just about anything” except home technology, notes CNET Senior Reporter Shara Tibken. “Now demand is coming back. What we’re seeing is just about everything electronic is having trouble getting a supply” of chips. The chip industry’s fabrication plants or “fabs” aren’t well-suited to whipsawing demand.
“These are gargantuan battleships. They’re not factories you take offline and back online on a whim,” says CNET Senior Reporter Stephen Shankland. Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung are regarded as the big three — but an array of lesser-known chip companies can hold up the production of products even if Intel or TSMC chips are available. “It’s just some little support chip made in some older fab,” says Shankland. “Those shortages have been enough to trip up much bigger, much more powerful products.”
Production recovery in the chip industry may be almost as complicated as its products. “High-end processors might be fine by the end of this year,” says Tibken. “In some other areas it could stretch well into next year. But I haven’t heard anyone say [it stretches] into 2023.”
Tibken and Shankland have many more insights into the complicated pipeline headaches in the chip industry. It’s a fascinating conversation you can see in the video above.
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