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Tuesday, 10 July 2012 07:22

Intel goes on spending splurge

Written by Nick Farrell



Invests $4 billion in ASML


Chipzilla spent more than $4 billion to buy up to 15 percent of the Dutch outfit ASML.

The cunning plan is to also bankroll the Dutch company's research into costly next-generation chipmaking technology. Intel wants to speed the adoption of the next generation of chip manufacturing processes from ASML by as much as two years.

To do that it will have to spend a fortune but it could save itself billions by cutting chip production costs.
ASML makes machines that etch circuits onto silicon wafers and it is famous for its 450-millimeter wafer sizes and "extreme-ultraviolet" or EUV lithography.

Intel has written a cheque for an initial 10 percent stake in its European supplier and tack on another 5 percent if it wins shareholder approval, for a total of about $3.1 billion. It will also move on to larger wafer sizes in its own processing system.

Analysts think that by speeding up a move to 450mm fabs, Intel will make it difficult for smaller chipmakers to compete.  They will have to splash out on ever more expensive gear. ASML competes with Canon and Nikon and its main clients are Intel and its sworn rival Samsung.

Nick Farrell

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