Archive for October 20th, 2010

Article from SF Gate.

“Intel Corp., the world’s biggest chipmaker, said it will spend between $6 billion and $8 billion on U.S. factory upgrades, spurring the creation of 800 to 1,000 manufacturing jobs.

Two plants in Chandler, Ariz., and two in Hillsboro, Ore., will be renovated, and a new research and development facility will be built, Intel said Tuesday in a statement. The plans will also create as many as 8,000 construction jobs, the company said. The initiative will be carried out over “several years,” Intel spokesman Tom Beermann said in an e-mail. The Oregon plant is to open in 2013.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, has manufacturing facilities at three sites in the United States, including New Mexico, as well as in Ireland and Israel. The company is also building its first production facility in China. Intel, which is vying with Samsung Electronics Co. to be the industry’s biggest spender on production, budgeted $5.2 billion for plants and equipment in 2010.

“Today’s announcement reflects the next tranche of the continued advancement of Moore’s Law and a further commitment to invest in the future of Intel and America,” Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini said.

Moore’s Law is Intel co-founder Gordon Moore‘s famous prediction in 1965 that computer chips’ performance will roughly double every two years as manufacturing technology improves and more transistors, or tiny on/off switches, can be crammed onto the chips. The other side of that prediction is that prices will also fall.

Semiconductor companies are locked in a race to shrink the line widths on the circuits that give computer chips their function. Intel’s budget will be spent on so-called 22-nanometer production. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. Reducing line widths lowers costs and makes products more capable. Modern semiconductor plants cost hundreds of millions of dollars to construct and billions to equip with machinery. They run 24 hours a day, year-round.

Intel rose 2 cents to $19.21 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have declined 5.8 percent this year.

The company’s microprocessors run more than 80 percent of the world’s personal computers. Rival Samsung is the biggest maker of memory chips. The two companies compete in the market for memory used in mobile products such as Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

Intel ended the third quarter with more than $20 billion in cash and short-term investments after generating $3.5 billion in cash flow from operations. That cash total doesn’t include the two pending acquisitions it announced in the period – the $7.68 billion purchase of McAfee Inc. and the $1.4 billion deal for Infineon Technologies AG‘s wireless-chip unit.”

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