The Great Semiconductor Shortage

It’s not like you need a new computer, so why should you care about the global semiconductor shortage? When a computer can do anything, everything has a computer. The semiconductor shortage has prevented parents from buying a PlayStation 5 for their daughters, caused furloughs and automobile plant shutdowns, and forced Samsung to cancel the latest  Galaxy Note phone. Why is there a shortage? Covid-19. Climate change. Maritime disasters. Here’s more from MOTHERBOARD:

The current shortage was triggered by COVID-19-related production and shipping problems but has become increasingly dire over the past few months, as the list of whimsical disasters affecting the industry start to resemble a Wes Anderson montage sequence. “Unless you were in the tech industry, no one even knew what a semiconductor was two years ago. And now it’s on the cover of the Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal,” said Jon Bathgate, an investor with NZS Capital who specialises in the semiconductor industry.

In Texas, a winter storm and the subsequent electrical grid failure led to Samsung, NXP, and Infineon, three major semiconductor chip makers that run large factories in the state, to temporarily shut down manufacturing. Meanwhile in Japan, an equipment fire at the Renesas semiconductor factory is still under investigation and expected to cause delays of at least three months.

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