Intel has held talks with both Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the largest contract manufacturer in the world, and with Samsung Electronics’s semiconductor division, about the possibility of manufacturing some of Intel’s chips, according to a report Friday by Bloomberg’s Ian King and Debby Wu, citing multiple unnamed sources.
Intel has told Wall Street on multiple occasions in the last several months that it is considering outsourcing some production of chips to outside manufacturers after repeated delays in recent years in getting its leading-edge chips out the door.
Intel CEO Bob Swan has said he will disclose the company’s plan on the quarterly earnings call that comes on January 21st.
The article notes that Intel has not yet made a final decision and is “still holding out hope for last-minute improvements in its own production capabilities.”
King and Wu write that Taiwan Semi is putting together an offer to Intel to use a manufacturing process that makes chips with their smallest features at 4 nanometers, or four billionths of a meter. ” The sources tell the reports that those chips could be produced as sample parts by the end of this year and could go into mass production next year.
Taiwan Semi is prepared to dedicate a facility it has been building in Baoshan Township in Taiwan. The company had been planning to use that facility for R&D, as a kind of Taiwanese Bell Labs, according to an article in 2019 in The China Post.
Intel received an activist challenge from hedge fund Third Point LLC last month, demanding that the company expire strategic alternatives for its manufacturing.