Intel's situation has certain similarities to the ebbing tide of semiconductor manufacturing in Europe, although markedly less acute (see Opinion: Money's not the problem for Europe's semiconductor rebuild).
For both Intel and Europe, catching up with the leading-edge in semiconductors before there is some major change to the materials and manufacturing requirements at 2nm or 1nm is unlikely. Indeed, a major change in the architecture of electronics/photonics/spintronics is the best opportunity for re-engagement for both, as it can level the playing field for all would-be participants.
Gelsinger spent 30 years in his first spell at Intel during which he led numerous microprocessor design programs. If he is to make the changes that shareholders and the board of directors would like to see, his vision – if not his time as CEO – will need to be of the same order of time. And he may yet be forced to conclude that Intel has to quit leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing in the short term with a view to catching the flooding tide and coming again in the post-CMOS era.
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