Skip to main content

TSMC Founder: Pat Gelsinger Too Old to Make Intel Great Again

TSMC
(Image credit: TSMC)

Update, 12/13/2021: Intel reached out to clarify that the company updated its policy in March, 2021, to remove the mandatory retirement age for its corporate officers. Thus, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is not required to retire at age 65, as asserted by Morris Chang. 

Original Story: 

After less than a year into his tenure as Intel's chief executive, Pat Gelsinger has set up the company's process technology roadmap that spans through 2025 and introduced the company's IDM 2.0 foundry strategy. But the ambitious CEO may not have enough time to bring Intel back to its glory days, said Morris Chang, the founder and a former CEO of TSMC, reports UDN.

Pat Gelsinger is 60, and there is a rule that Intel's executives must retire at the age of 65 [EDIT: As per Intel policy, this is not true — the age limit was removed earlier this year]. As a result, Gelsinger may not have enough time to put Intel back in a manufacturing technology leadership position, Chang noted while delivering his lecture 'Cherish Taiwan's Advantages in Semiconductor Wafer Manufacturing.'

After founding TSMC in 1987, Chang served as CEO of the world's largest chipmaker until 2005. However, he returned to the position in mid-2009 amid the global economic crisis. He finally retired from the company in 2018. 

While many U.S.-based companies have mandatory retirement rules for executives, they tend to change them if the need arises. To that end, Gelsinger may have five years to put Intel on the right track and find proper successors, or he may have more time if Intel's board decides that his experience and agility outweigh his age. 

TSMC is not particularly happy with Gelsinger. Last week, he said that the reliance on Taiwan as the global hub for semiconductor manufacturing was a significant risk since China had never given up plans to capture the country.

"Taiwan is not a stable place," said Gelsinger at Fortune Brainstorm Tech, reports Nikkei. "Beijing sent 27 warplanes to Taiwan's air defense identification zone this week. Does that make you feel more comfortable or less?"

He also re-emphasized his view that foreign semiconductor companies should not receive subsidies from the U.S. government to build new fabs under the $52-billion CHIPS act. Gelsinger called on the U.S. government to provide incentives only for American chipmakers. He argued that semiconductor companies from China, Taiwan and South Korea received major aid from their respective governments, which made it harder for American companies like Intel to compete. 

"How do you compete with a 30 to 40% subsidy," Gelsinger asked. "Because that means we are not competing with TSMC or Samsung, we are competing with Taiwan and Korea. The subsidies in China are even more significant."

 

 

Anton Shilov
Freelance News Writer

Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • -Fran-
    Mr. Pat G. does make good points, and points that are in need to be heard in the bigger audience. Specially the Govt audience.

    If Govts want to get their Chips-dependent industry back on track, they have to pony up somehow to compete with TSMC's "free candy". And that's not even going into the Political angle.

    I wouldn't like to see Intel owning all the world Fabs either, but at least the points are well made in the wider context of just building chips.

    A nasty problem with a non-trivial solution.

    And about his age... As long as he doesn't get dementia any time soon, he should be able to lead indirectly from the board, right? Haha.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    There's plenty of other companies around the world that can make chips. The problem is the amount that have the equipment and know how to make the bleeding edge is basically two. Maybe three if you want to be a little loose.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    hotaru.hino said:
    There's plenty of other companies around the world that can make chips. The problem is the amount that have the equipment and know how to make the bleeding edge is basically two. Maybe three if you want to be a little loose.
    They all depend on ASML. That Company is backed by USA capital and there's no other like it in the world, so any manufacturer that wants "bleeding edge", needs to compete with TSMC and Intel to get there. I'm not sure if Samsung also taps into ASML, but I wouldn't be surprised they do. GloFo does, for sure.

    Point is (and I think I get your underlying implication) while many Companies can fab chips if they get the gear, not many of them can't* be on the bleeding edge just because of cost of said equipment and political reasons. I won't delve into the political side, clearly.

    https://www.asml.com/en/company/about-asml
    Regards.
    Reply
  • sivaseemakurthi
    ""How do you compete with a 30 to 40% subsidy," Gelsinger asked
    I doubt if the subsidies are really that high.
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    sivaseemakurthi said:
    ""How do you compete with a 30 to 40% subsidy," Gelsinger asked
    I doubt if the subsidies are really that high.

    Hard to say if it is but they have not said that it is not true, but we can safely assume they are getting quite a bit.
    Reply
  • derekullo
    Your eyes get worse as you age.

    Past 60 years of age most people are no longer capable manipulating the transistors with the high degree of accuracy needed for assembling a cpu.

    :p
    Reply
  • GenericUser
    derekullo said:
    Your eyes get worse as you age.

    Past 60 years of age most people are no longer capable manipulating the transistors with the high degree of accuracy needed for assembling a cpu.

    :p

    That's why we have binning :)
    Reply
  • $h0nuff
    When did Tom's, TPU, Anand, etc. become "The Onion" of tech news? Hilarious.

    Lisa:

    Please get back to working on something other than tabloid-caliber mudslinging.

    Mike:

    Goodbye.
    Reply
  • purpleskying
    thisisaname said:
    Hard to say if it is but they have not said that it is not true, but we can safely assume they are getting quite a bit.

    I question the "30 to 40% subsidy" for TSMC (Samsung could be different) as TSMC does not get subsidies from Taiwan's government for building its facilities according to a quote from WSJ. "While Taiwan's government played a crucial role in its founding investment, she said, the company doesn't receive subsidies to build facilities."

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-world-relies-on-one-chip-maker-in-taiwan-leaving-everyone-vulnerable-11624075400
    Reply