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September 16, 2005
Welcome to the Third World
I know people are going to read this as good news.
Intel announced it is putting $340 million into expanding plants in Colorado and Massachusetts.
What could be wrong with that?
Well, consider this:
- These are old factories that use 8-inch wafers, not the 12-inch wafers used to make microprocessors.
- The chips being added to the lines are 200 nm devices that link processors to memory. Processor lines are now written at less than 100 nm.
- The Colorado investment will only involve increased testing of chips, not production.
- The total new employment from both these investments is under 1,000.
This is a drop in the bucket next to total Intel investment. The vast majority of Intel's new investment is going overseas, especially to China. Some of it is being made there because the Chinese government has been playing hardball, demanding more investment as the price of market access.
China is now a member of the World Trade Organization, and its hardball tactics are fine by the WTO.
Why aren't we playing hardball? Why are we still playing software, and letting U.S. companies relegate us to Third World status?
Think about that this weekend.
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