The global chip shortage has been explained in a variety of ways, but a recent analysis sheds some insight on an unexpected cause of the deficit.
According to DigiTimes, prominent IT businesses are pointing to a single cause for the global chip shortage – particularly, the company Texas Instruments. That’s right, the manufacturer of the graphing calculators we all used in high school.
Texas Instruments now does a lot more than just build calculators. If you take a short glance at the Texas Instruments website, you’ll notice that it has a massive selection of products, including PWM controllers, RGB LED display drivers, and more.
Most notably, the company has built a name for itself as a manufacturer of analog chips, which help to regulate the voltage levels in modern computers. These are minor but critical components of current chip design that, according to some, are causing the production snag.
TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) is one of the firms that has been blamed. TSMC is the world’s largest semiconductor business, producing chips for companies such as Apple, AMD, Nvidia, and many others outside of the computing industry.
According to the study, TSMC claims that Texas Instruments, the market leader in analog chips, is causing a bottleneck in providing access to these critical components.
In a recent Reuters report about the business’s quarterly earnings, Texas Instruments’ chief financial officer admitted that inventory levels were indeed low, forcing the company to miss revenue targets.
While Texas Instruments’ production problems are unlikely to be the single “cause” of the global chip shortage, they represent a microcosm of how fragile supply networks can be. Of course, no one wants to accept the blame, but it is evident that a basic element scarcity can have far-reaching consequences, affecting everything from automobile manufacture to your ability to purchase an RTX graphics card or a Playstation 5 this Christmas season.
Some of the industry’s most powerful voices have predicted that the chip scarcity will persist until 2022, if not longer.