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Dell CEO expects chip shortage to last for "a few years"

The ongoing semiconductor crisis could last significantly longer than the six months recently estimated by Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins

The semiconductor shortage blighting the technology and automotive industries could last significantly longer than the six months recently estimated by Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.

Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell said he expects that the chip crisis “will probably continue for a few years”. Speaking to German business publication Handelsblatt, he warned that it could take some time before the semiconductor shortage is dealt with accordingly.

“Even if chip factories are built all over the world it takes time,” Dell told the newspaper, adding that older chip models are particularly difficult to obtain at the moment.

"We are talking, in particular, about components that are in the one-dollar range and are used practically everywhere. But even newer technologies are not easy to come by,” he said.

Dell’s comments come as Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen confirmed that the country will cooperate with the European Union to ensure a more "resilient supply" of semiconductors.

European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton previously met with Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC to discuss opening a fabrication plant in the region, with France, Germany, or Poland mentioned as potential locations. Breton hopes that a major factory in Europe would help the continent to become less reliant on shipments coming in from Asia, which has proven increasingly difficult due to pandemic travel and transport restrictions.

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He is also seeking to double the region’s share of global semiconductor production to 20% by 2030, last week stating that the EU had been “too naive, too open” in outsourcing chip manufacturing.

However, as pointed out by Dell, the semiconductor crisis is far from over. Even if work on the new European fabrication plant were to begin as soon as possible, chances are slim that it will be completed by the end of 2021.

Last week, IDC predicted that the mobile phone semiconductor revenues will grow by 23.3% in 2021 to $147 billion, fuelled by the 5G rollout. Commenting on the forecast, IDC research director for Connectivity and Smartphone Semiconductors, Phil Solis, described 2021 as “an especially important year for semiconductor vendors”. 

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