Intel admits over-ambition led to delays in 10nm chip production but feels Moore's Law is not dead yet
Intel's reason for lagging behind the competition when it came to 10nm CPUs (and consequently 7nm) was due to its over ambitious goals, according to CEO Bob Swan who made a public appearance for perhaps the first time at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado earlier this week. The ambitious goal was going after a 2.7x transistor density improvement over 14nm. Swan said,
[The delay was] somewhat a function of what we've been able to do in the past, which in essence was defying the odds. At a time when it was getting harder and harder, we set a more and more aggressive goal. From that, it just took us longer."
Swan took over Intel seven months after Brian Krzanich had to leave in 2018 as per the company's anti-fraternization policy after he was found to be involved in a consensual relationship with a subordinate. While Intel is still the leading supplier of CPUs for servers and PCs, its competitors such as AMD and NVIDIA have seen great success in outsourcing chip manufacturing to companies such as TSMC.
However, Swan is still optimistic. He said,
The short story is we learned from it. The next generation of manufacturing improvements will be ready in about two years. Intel is internally emphasizing greater sharing of information between units. The goal is to pull entire company together through more truth and transparency and the free flow of information."
So essentially, Intel is sticking to its original plans of offering 7nm in 2021. The company might have not been able to keep up with Moore's Law, but Swan feels that the law is still applicable; just that it needs some changes to suit Intel's current situation.