A chip costs a cent, but a shortage has trillion-dollar firms by ...

World

A chip costs a cent, but a shortage has trillion-dollar firms by the throat

It’s not the complex components but the simpler ones that have slowed down production for firms such as Apple

Ian King

The great computer-chip shortage of 2021, a cloud hanging over companies ranging from Tesla to McDonald’s, is showing signs of easing. But not for everyone.

While chipmakers such as Qualcomm and Advanced Micro Devices struck an optimistic tone this week, certain products will remain scarce for some time to come. That’s left companies such as Apple in a bind: even with some supplies of semiconductors getting closer to normal, they still lack the components needed to complete their complex tech devices.

On Tuesday, Apple said shortages would contribute to a lower rate of growth this quarter and get worse. And there’s an ironic wrinkle: the iPhone maker expects to get enough of the more advanced chips that the company needs. It’s the simpler ones – made with so-called legacy-node manufacturing – that will be tougher to come by. On Thursday, Samsung – the top supplier of high-end displays to the tech giant – warned that shortages of components may affect shipments to unspecified customers in coming months...

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