|Интел откладывает кооперацию с Taiwan Semiconductor. Казалось бы, при чем тут Новодворская?
||[Mar. 2nd, 2010|09:58 pm]
Всего пару недель назад у меня состоялась дискуссия с товарищем mstsvetk, который в частности утверждал, что производители потребительской электроники типа цифровых телевизоров якобы дружно пересаживаются с MIPS-а и ARM-а на Intel ("а сейчас пересядут на Intel").
И вот сегодня утром выяснилось, что на пути Интела к мировому господству возникли временные трудности. Дело в том, что большинство компаний, которые строят "системы на чипе" (System on Chip - SoC) для сотовых телефонов, телевизоров и автомобилей, используют лицензированные процессорные ядра от ARM или MIPS (а также Arc, Tensilica, Renesas и других), после чего воплощают дизайны в силикон с помощью технологии от тайваньского гиганта TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), крупнейшей в мире независимой фабрики микросхем с капитализацией более 40 миллиардов долларов. И вот сегодня ... Интел прекратил сотрудничество с TSMC в деле продвижения своих процессоров на рынок встроенных систем.
Intel: cooperation with TSMC suspended
March 1st, 2010
Company Intel recognized that currently do not have any definite plans to produce at the market of any kind have been versions of processors Atom, produced at factories of the company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing ( TSMC ). This recognition confirms the suspension of a sensational co-operation, which the company said last year, or more accurately, pushes implementation period option «Atom from TSMC» indefinitely.
Nevertheless, at least to date, the Company does not intend to completely abandon the original plans. Intel spokesman Bill Kirkos (Bill Kircos), in particular, said that his company, and TSMC has already gone through a number of basic steps in terms of hardware and software, and intend to continue cooperation. From the above information suggests that Intel intends to maintain the consistency of its development in the younger segment of the processor with production technologies TSMC, so that if necessary, be able to “throw” to the market a sufficient number of chips.
Commenting on the situation, analysts say it primarily related to the complexity of joining Intel’s Atom line of solutions for the embedded market and consumer applications where a processor and SoC, made by TSMC, would be used first. In their view, to implement its plans for the company would have to have patience and perseverance to forge relationships with partners and to wait until a sufficient number of products to new markets for Intel.
According to Jim MacGregor (Jim McGregor), head of strategic and marketing Research company In-Stat , a new market against Intel, among others, has its own reputation “vosmisotfuntovoy gorillas. Thus, if the company is now using the ARM architecture, or MIPS for embedded and consumer applications, have the choice of multiple vendors, the transition to Intel x86 architecture virtually eliminates the possibility of choice. Moreover, such a transition requires a great deal of work to change the hardware design and software.
However, MacGregor believes that Intel, in its quest for further development in one way or another will have to develop new markets outside the core market for the company’s computers. As a successful example of this practice, he brought medical imaging, which is currently dominated solutions based on architecture x86, although 12 years ago in this segment of the observed dominance of Architecture Power PC. The activity of the business direction embedded Intel confirms $2 billion annual revenues, provided department.
Intel bails on agreement with TSMC - what does it mean?
I came across an interesting little item on Intel today. The company, a fierce competitor and usually successful in attaining its objectives, seems to have taken a misstep.
Last week Intel Corp. (INTC) acknowledged that it has no immediate plans to bring to market any Atom chips manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC). This confirmed a report that the partnership announced by the two companies last year has hit a stumbling block.
When it was announced, the partnership was a first for Intel, which had never before allowed outsourcing of it's core microprocessor technology. The objective of the partnership was to make it easier for other companies to integrate Intel's Atom microprocessor core into so-called "system on a chip" semiconductors. This would provide another channel for Intel to sell into the embedded, mobile and handheld device markets where integration of functions, small footprints and low power consumption are paramount considerations.
Intel spokesperson Bill Kircos said "It's been difficult to find the sweet spot of product, engineering, IP and customer demand to go into production." In other words, no one is beating down the doors to use the Atom chip in devices other than netbooks.
The failure to get Atom products into production at TSMC appears to signal slower-than-expected progress on execution of Intel's strategy to grow revenue outside of the PC market, where its microprocessors dominate.
Last year the company took a series of actions seen as gearing up for a broader move into new markets by pushing its x86 architecture deeper into the embedded market and elsewhere. These moves included the TSMC deal and the acquisition of embedded software specialist Wind River Systems Inc.
What this means for Intel and TSMC --
Is this a big deal for Intel or TSMC? Not really. Both of these companies are so big this partnership was just a sideshow. It does, however, show how hard it is, even for the premier microprocessor company in the world, to break into new markets. ARM Holdings (ARMH) and MIPS Technologies (MIPS) continue to dominate the market for handheld devices with their low power, customizable, RISC processors. For example, companies that are currently or formerly ARM licensees include Alcatel, Apple Inc., Atmel, Broadcom, Cirrus Logic, Digital Equipment Corporation, Freescale, Intel themselves (through DEC), LG, Marvell Technology Group, NEC, NVIDIA, NXP (previously Philips), Oki, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sharp, ST Microelectronics, Symbios Logic, Texas Instruments, VLSI Technology, Yamaha and ZiiLABS. That's a pretty serious list of customers. Once committed to a processor solution, it's not so easy to switch. Not only are new hardware designs required but all the software needs to be rewritten, too.
So Intel faces some disappointment in the near term but the company has deep pockets and can afford to maintain a long time horizon. And it looks like it will require a long term approach and a willingness to chip away at the market for smaller, handheld devices. The company has managed to build a good sized business in other kinds of markets like medical imaging systems and industrial controllers so we know that the company has the ability to diversify beyond PCs. We'll see if they have the perseverance to break into cellphones, digital cameras and other markets of this kind, as well. In the meantime, they've got a little egg on their face.
И ведь нельзя сказать, что известие свалилось просто как гром среди ясного неба:
Six reasons why no one wants an Atom-based SoC
Intel's fear of the processor core business may be the root
(02/26/2010 10:15 AM EST)
SAN JOSE, Calif. — You would think an x86 core would be a pretty hot item for a system-on-chip design. So why is no one biting on Intel Corp.'s offer last March to sell rights to an Atom core for SoCs made at TSMC?
Here's some armchair speculation. Most of it comes down to one thing—this new SoC model might have some inside Intel a little scared.
1) Intel is charging high royalties
Intel did not make terms of its Atom SoC business publically available when it launched the deal. It's a new business model for Intel and maybe the processor giant is being a little too greedy—aka fearful—about releasing the crown jewels of its processor designs.
2) Intel has some other nasty business terms
Atom royalties could be in line. After all, the prices ARM charges are probably widely known, so Intel should have a model on which to base its prices.
But I would not be surprised if Intel has a real fear about losing control of its intellectual property. Unlike ARM, Intel has spent years and millions litigating against rivals such as AMD, Cyrix and others who cloned the x86. The processor giant can't afford to let China Inc. get hold of any proprietary details about its designs.
Thus I suspect there could be some onerous business or legal handcuffs that come with being an Atom licensee. If so, Intel could be scaring off customers.
3) Intel is not providing adequate visibility into its core
Again, fear of having one of its novel x86 designs cloned by rivals may have motivated Intel to keep a tight rein on how much technical detail it discloses about the core. SoC designers won't want to trust their chip design to a core that isn't well documented—especially not when there are plenty of alternative cores from ARM, MIPS and others that provide plenty of technical details about their internal plumbing.
4) The design might be a dog
Intel has disclosed no details about the Atom core it is making available through TSMC. Maybe it is some sort of step-child of the Atom cores Intel itself markets. The theory that Intel fears making its best IP openly available comes into play here, too.
The TSMC core could suck too much power. Even Intel's Atom cores are power hogs compared to ARM cores in the same general neighborhood of performance, demanding a Watt or two where ARM might use a couple hundred milliwatts.
There could also be performance problems. Intel is gifted at cranking out processor designs when it owns the process technology they are made in. It is less skilled in designing for someone else's standard foundry process—and it likely does not have its best design engineers on the task.
5) No one wants to go first
If I just got my $15 million in VC or corporate funding to do a new SoC design, I may not want to risk blowing the money on a brand new core just ported to a new process technology, provided by a large and paranoid company for whom the IP business is a new experiment.
No, I think I'd prefer a proven core and process and a core provider who has been in the game awhile.
6) Intel doesn't know how to sell processor cores
Perhaps the PC processor giant just doesn't know how to sell this stuff? The simple fix would be to hire a handful of enterprising ARM sales and application engineers.
Whatever the problems really are, I suspect they can be solved—if Intel really wants to be in this business. The x86 has a long history in PC and embedded markets. There are bazillions of apps, tools and peripherals for it.
Such a rich eco-system should attract a lively SoC business, if Intel has the will to do what it needs to do to become a solid silicon IP provider. Time will tell if that's really in Intel's soul, or the company just can't get beyond its PC processor DNA.
Комментарии доставляют - "I thought journalists were supposed to get these answers and bring them to the table rather than writing articles full of "maybe it's because of this" and "maybe it's because of the other thing"?"
Да, так при чем тут Валерия Новодворская? Несколько лет назад я заметил, что когда Валерия Ильинична описывает Запад, она подает телодвижения западных компаний как некое уверенное, солидное, поступательное движение к успеху. К счастью (*), Запад далеко не так поступателен, рационален и предсказуем, как это кажется некоторым внешним наблюдателям. Даже флагманы типа Интела совершают какие-то странные телодвижения и целые группы компаний впадают в десятилетние заблуждения.
(*) Именно "к счастью", ибо в предсказуемо-успешном мире мухи бы от скуки дохли.
Тут уместно вспомнить историю Итаниума. В начале 1990-х Интел решил, что архитектура x86/Pentium слишком сильно связана своим происхождением из 1970-х (4004-8080-8086) и пообещал всех сделать суперпроцессор Итаниум. Вся индустрия запаниковала и прекратила кучу альтернативных проектов (именно тогда MIPS перешел из графических станций Silicon Graphics на игровые приставки и телевизоры). А Итаниум так и не оправдал ожидания. Вот статья на этот счет:
How the Itanium Killed the Computer Industry
by John C. Dvorak
It's no coincidence that the computer industry peaked around the year 2000, went into a serious decline, stabilized at the low point a couple of years ago, and has since collapsed again. This all happens and continues to this day; it's been a decade-long down cycle.
A confluence of reasons is responsible for this, but when it comes to the industry bringing this on itself (rather than outside influences such as Sarbanes-Oxley), one major event may have taken down the entire business. It triggered almost everything else that was bad.
I'm speaking about the announcement of the Itanium processor. This continues to be one of the great fiascos of the last 50 years, and not because Intel blew too much money on its development or that the chip performed poorly and will never be widely adopted. It was the reaction and subsequent consolidation in the industry that took place once this grandiose chip was preannounced.
I witnessed this in real time, in person, and I've never seen anything like it before or since.
In 1997 Intel was the king of the hill; in that year it first announced the Itanium or IA-64 processor. That same year, research company IDC predicted that the Itanium would take over the world, racking up $38 billion in sales in 2001. Wow! Everybody paid attention.
At the time of the announcement, Intel stock was around $20 (adjusted for numerous splits); it began to climb fast, approaching $100 a share by 2001. When the chip finally shipped in July 2001, it wasn't about to generate $38 billion in sales, and the whole Itanium idea began to fall apart. IDC adjusted its prediction downwards, saying the chip would generate $12 billion by the end of 2004. In 2004 the chip actually generated $1.4 billion, far less than the cost of development.
Intel stock began a slide that it has yet to recover from and now languishes at around $14. You can blame the Itanium for this decimation, as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps the idea behind the chip was sound. Intel had decided that the x86 architecture was stale; it had been cloned by AMD on a separate development track, and it needed to be replaced by something completely different. But this notion was probably initiated as much to screw AMD as it was to move the industry forward.
Utilizing trendy ideas of the era—such as RISC and very long instruction words (VLIW)—Intel was convinced it could do something more modern than the creaky x86 architecture (which first emerged in 1978, for God's sake).
Andy Grove figured that Intel could pull an Apple and do what Macs did when that company transitioned from the 68000 to the PowerPC chip: run legacy apps in emulation. It's been done before, after all, and this chip would be so powerful (they thought) that nobody would even notice. No matter that Apple got lucky with its emulator, and that generally emulation sucks.
The problem was that Intel wasn't the only company drinking the Kool-Aid. The entire industry took this project so seriously that the press was inundated by both a massive roll-out campaign and a press kit that had releases from all the strategic partners—which was practically everyone in the Valley…and beyond.
What we heard was that HP, IBM, Dell, and even Sun Microsystems would use these chips and discontinue anything else they were developing. This included Sun making noise about dropping the SPARC chip for this thing—sight unseen. I say "sight unseen" because it would be years before the chip was even prototyped. The entire industry just took Intel at its word that Itanium would work as advertised in a PowerPoint presentation.
Because this chip was supposed to radically change the way computers work and become the driving force behind all systems in the future, one promising project after another was dropped. The MIPS chip, the DEC Alpha (perhaps the fastest chip of its era), and anything else in the pipeline were all cancelled or deemphasized. Why? Because Itanium was the future for all computing. Why bother wasting money on good ideas that didn't include it?
The failure of this chip to do anything more than exist as a niche processor sealed the fate of Intel—and perhaps the entire industry, since from 1997 to 2001 everyone waited for the messiah of chips to take us all to the next level.
It did that all right. It took us to the next level. But we didn't know that the next level was below us, not above. The next level was the basement, in fact. Hopefully Intel won't come up with any more bright ideas like the Itanium. We can't afford to excavate another level down.