Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, speaks in a photo taken as CEO of VMware on March 9, 2017 in Santa Monica, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said he expected 10 “good years” of growth in the semiconductor industry during a panel at CNBC’s Evolve conference on Wednesday.
“We believe the market, the world, is in a very expanding phase,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, Jon Fortt of CNBC. “I predict that we still have 10 good years ahead of us, because the world is becoming more digital and everything digital needs semiconductors.”
The comment suggests that Intel’s investments in chip manufacturing, such as plans to spend $ 20 billion to build a chip factory in Arizona, will create capabilities that will continue to be used after the current global microchip shortage subsides. Intel also recently announced it would become a “foundry” or company that will manufacture microchips for other companies.
According to Gelsinger, Intel planned to announce another “mega-fab” in the US or Europe later this year.
Gelsinger appeared on a CNBC panel with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. Both started running their companies earlier this year.
While the two companies are rivals, the CEOs downplayed the competition, suggesting that the two chipmakers could work together in areas where they don’t overlap. Qualcomm makes chips (among other things) that connect to 5G networks, while Intel mainly builds central processing units (CPUs) that provide the basic computing power.
“You know, we’re the undisputed leader in computing, and Qualcomm is the undisputed leader in communications. Computing meets comms. Right, lots of new use cases, ”said Gelsinger.
Amon said he believes Intel’s foundry plan could be a benefit for Qualcomm, which uses outside foundries to make its chips.
“There are a lot of opportunities for companies to work together. Look, we’re looking at Intel and Qualcomm at real tech companies in the United States, we’re doing a lot of advanced and fundamental research to help the industry move forward,” Amon said.
The two companies share some strategic concerns. Both are likely to be backed by a package contained in a technology bill currently in the US House of Representatives that would allocate $ 52 billion to fund semiconductor research, design and manufacturing.
“We’re also excited to be building a much more resilient supply chain with semiconductor manufacturing onshoring, I think that’s very important too,” said Amon. “For that you need investments of this magnitude.”
Both companies are also closely monitoring the $ 40 billion purchase of Arm from Softbank by rival Nvidia. Arm technology is particularly important to Qualcomm as it is essential for the development of low-power microprocessors that use smartphones.
The deal is also making chip companies nervous about having to license essential intellectual property from a competitor and facing regulatory challenges in Europe. Arm doesn’t currently make full chips – it just develops the underlying technology. On Monday, an Arm spokesman told CNBC that the company was “very confident” that the deal would be approved.
Over the weekend, Amon told a UK newspaper that Qualcomm would be interested in investing in Arm should the deal be blocked or Arm otherwise independent.
When asked about Amon’s comment, Gelsinger said, “We are on record that we are concerned about the Nvidia Arm takeover. And if there were other approaches we would definitely be interested in understanding them.”