Time & Money

Imagine this. You approach Intel with the latest devices (usually it’s devices)  in cutting-edge technology that significantly reduce the cost required to create the new Intel i7 (when did Intel steal Apples iXXX labeling scheme? *Shrugs*) ? The catch is that this multi-million dollar machine can only make one chip a day! Will they buy the device from you?

Probably. Out of sheer curiosity they will purchase it, reverse engineer it and learn what edge you have against them to improve it to the point that they can have their own patent on the technology (another topic). But they won’t use it in their manufacturing line.

If you think about how many computer chips there are per person, the market has to make so many a day (probably millions) to keep up. To keep up with demand, a company like Intel will create multiple fabrication lines for chip costs. They would prefer their current equipment in contrast to yours, since theirs create >100 chips an hour. Also, these assembly lines (cleaning baths, oxide ovens, doping chambers, lithography, etching, dicing) all require power, maintenance, and surveillance/monitoring. Thus, Intel would like a balance between machine counts and chips/machine. Once again, mass manufacturing is king.

A company has to balance chips/machine and machine counts to meet that demand. If they don’t build enough, they lose possible profit by not selling enough. If they construct too many, then that company wasted a lot of money on “shiny” equipment that is not needed (and they probably can’t sell it back either).

And it’s more complicated once a technology’s timeline (birth, growth, plateau, and death) is taken into consideration. The current production lines just won’t cut it 20 years from now when I’m in the market to buy the i42 for my next personal supercomputer that will solve all my mid-life crises!

So when I say “Time and Money,” I actually mean “MONEY!”


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