Bargaining chips: How the semiconductor industry has emerged as an industrial battleground

Despite US manufacturers recently securing the $280 billion Chips Act, Intel is preparing to slash spending and cut tens of thousands of jobs. Why is the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer making such a dramatic U-turn, and what could it mean for Ireland?

Manufacturing microchips: ‘Microchips are similar to oil in terms of their importance to running a modern economy’. Picture: Getty

In early December last year, almost 60 senior executives from some of the largest corporations in America co-signed a letter to the leaders of the US Congress urging them to pass a multibillion-dollar subsidy package to restore American competitiveness in semiconductor manufacturing.

One of those who signed was Pat Gelsinger, the chief executive of Intel, the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer by revenue. The letter from Gelsinger and other senior executives – including Tim Cook, the ...