Semiconductors are the brains of modern electronics.  They are used in medical devices, communications, computing, defense, transportation, energy, and technologies of the future such as artificial intelligence, data science, and advanced wireless networks.  This case examines the global semiconductor industry and its structure.  The case raises several important questions: Is Intel falling behind competitors in the race to make ever more powerful processors?  Apple, Amazon, Facebook and other tech firms are designing their own chips - how will this impact the industry? Is the fabless model based on contract manufacturing superior to Intel’s model of designing and making its own branded products?  Will Chinese companies close the technology gap with firms like TSMC, Samsung, and Intel?   

The objectives of this case are to help students understand:
1) The nature of global industries
2) The structure and basis for competitive advantage in the semiconductor industry
3) The global interconnectedness of the industry value chain
4) Key competitive and geopolitical questions and issues associated with semiconductors
Case number:
Case Series Author(s):
Andrew C. Inkpen
Information Technology
General Management
Fourth Industrial Revolution
10 pages
Public Sources