We are all familiar with software and Internet companies building their own chips. Less appreciated is the extent to which semis companies are all gradually morphing into software providers as well.
Lots of people think chip companies should build “services” businesses to capture more value. The list of companies that have accomplished this is very close to zero.
The ban on export of specific US semis products to China marks a major shift in tactics from the US government. Which opens the question what is the long-term goal here, or do they even have one?
While Arm may be able to beat Qualcomm in court, their lawsuit risks creating a really challenging marketing message, especially at a time when the threat of RISC V looms ever larger. Maybe they win the legal battle, but lose the marketing war.
Everyone tends to forget that Samsung is a provider of leading edge semis manufacturing. It is important to remember them because there is a non-zero chance that they may not remain an alternative.
A recap of our emerging thesis on the changing nature of compute and what that means for semis companies large and small.
There probably will not be thousands of companies designing their own chips – the upfront costs are just too prohibitive – but there will be enough to mark a major shift for the industry.
The markets are terrible. Moore’s Law is slowing. 6G is distant. But we are actually optimistic. Solutions exist for building compelling, complex systems. All that is missing is imagination and a bit of capital.
The large, incumbent chip companies are all choosing to embrace the trend of Roll-Your-Own chips by offering support services to non-chip companies’ efforts. Done well this may end up driving those customers to buy more catalog parts. Hopefully.
The era of general purpose compute is over. This is going to bring about a shake-up in the semiconductor industry.