Intel: 450mm, EUV to kill off rival chip companies

Fashion bag maker Paul Otellini has been telling the world and its dog that the coming transition to 450mm wafers will kill off half of the current numbers of semiconductor companies.

Of course, that will not mean that Intel will go into making its bags full time, as Otellini has his retirement fund to think of. He says he is confident that Chipzilla will undergo all the changes it needs.

According to X-bit Labs, Otellini said that the chip industry will see a large number of transitions in the next ten years. First up is the move to 450mm wafers, then there is the move to extreme ultraviolet lithography to think about. Both changes are going to be expensive and require scale to pull off.

Otellini noted that every time there has been a wafer-size change in the industry, only half of the design and production market players made it.

Talking to the Sanford Bernstein technology conference, Otellini said that he was so optimistic about the success of the transition to 450mm and EUV because Intel had been at the forefront of developing both technologies.

Chipzilla has chucked a lot of dosh at ASML which makes the semiconductor manufacturing equipment. This means that Intel gets almost full control of the transition to 450mm wafers and EUV lithography.

Otellini said that the industry’s structure will dramatically change in the next four or five years. It is clear that Intel will be viable on the other side of that transition to 450mm, he said.

His reasoning is that Intel makes a lot of chips now and is in the process of expanding into the growing markets of smartphones and media tablets, making the move to 450mm wafers logical.

Large volumes and large wafers mean that Intel will reduce its production costs, something that it needs to better compete against ARM.

Otellini added that smaller players, such as fabless developers of chips and actual makers of chips, could die out as a result of transition to 450mm and EUV. However, he warned that those companies that survived this transition could be a pain in the neck for Intel. They will be stronger competitors with high ambitions, he said.

Of course, he will have long left Intel by that point in its history.