One word comes up again and again when it comes to the poor availability of electronic products of all kinds: the Global Chip Shortage. It is not high-end chips that are missing, but simpler analog ICs. Their most important manufacturer is now the target of multiple criticisms.
As the Taiwanese industry service DigiTimes reports, the Taiwan-based manufacturers of PCs, smartphones, and other devices see the US company Texas Instruments’ unwillingness to act as the most important factor in the massive bottlenecks in the procurement of components for their products. It is said that it is simpler products such as the analog chips manufactured by TI that slow down the production of PCs & Co, not necessarily the advanced chips with extremely narrow structure widths manufactured by high-tech providers such as TSMC.
Texas Instruments is the market leader in so-called analog ICs, i.e. chips that contain analog circuits and nowadays mostly take on tasks such as voltage regulation. They are an essential part of most devices because they ensure that the other chips inside receive a proper power supply.
Texas Instruments is supposedly expanding capacities too slowly
As sources from the industry in Taiwan are now explaining, Texas Instruments is still holding back on expanding its manufacturing capacities, so that the products from the area of analog chips, which are already in high demand, are also less available. TI will only be able to deliver more chips towards the end of 2022. The sources from the hardware industry criticized the fact that TI, therefore, has extremely long delivery times and, on top of that, is currently not in a position to meet the schedules agreed with customers for their orders.
The problems at TI ensure, among other things, that the production lines in the automotive industry are at a standstill, they say. The manufacturers of smartphones and notebooks are also said to have massive problems. The co-boss of ASUS recently announced that it was primarily struggling with extended delivery times for products from US chip suppliers. Although he didn’t mention any names, TI and its competitor Analog Devices are the two market leaders in this area – and American companies.
The effects of the shortage of analog chips are devastating for the entire industry. For example, the world’s largest contract manufacturer for semiconductor products with small structure widths, TSMC, had to accept a decline in sales because Apple did not want to purchase the originally expected quantities of its new high-end SoCs for the iPhone 13 – because Apple, for its part, due to a lack of power management ICs could not produce the hoped-for numbers of new smartphones.