Samsung unsure what to think of Intel’s $20 billion foundry bet

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Intel today announced plans to reinvigorate its foundry business and start doing business with third-party clients. The news took Samsung by surprise, but the company reportedly still isn’t sure what to make of the development. Especially in light of its recently expanded cooperation with Santa Clara.

Nonetheless, South Korean sources claim Samsung remains on “high alert” in the aftermath of Intel’s Wednesday announcement. An understandable reaction, given their historically fierce rivalry.

Why should consumers care either way?

Intel, for its part, has been sending mixed signals. The conglomerate intends to invest $20 billion in two new stateside foundries. That’s some pretty bad news for Samsung on its own, given how broad Intel’s list of customers is. Then there’s TSMC, which is also building a new U.S. chipmaking plant of its own, valued at $12 billion. But at the same time, Intel plans to strengthen its collaboration with third-party manufacturers, Samsung included, according to today’s announcement.

Between Intel’s newfound eagerness to pioneer new semiconductor tech and TSMC’s ongoing momentum, Samsung Foundry can hardly expect smooth sailing in the foreseeable future. For as long as the industry giants are keeping one another on their toes, consumers can rest easy. After all, product prices should reflect this increase in the overall competitiveness fairly soon.

But Samsung’s overall ambitions in the semiconductor space definitely took a hit today. Not to mention that its own plans for a new state-of-the-art chipmaking plant in Austin, Texas still haven’t been finalized. And $10 billion is a lot of money to have hanging in the air, especially when you’re a publicly traded company, meaning the one and only thing you can’t afford is time.

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