Karen, while the future may look bright for the few massive captive fabs in the US, the rest of the semiconductor industry is heading into a dark future. The engine for innovation in semiconductors has been the fabless sector, and its growth was enabled through venture capital. The concentration of semiconductor VC into late-stage and mezzanines has left the cupboard increasingly bare in the early-to-midstage sector. We are now watching the big public companies snap up what's left in the private sector - and at fire sale prices.
More H1-Bs may help staff new fabs at Intel, but all the H1-Bs in the world won't balance the lack of early-to-midstage investment capital. What happens to product-level innovation in the semiconductor industry when there aren't any startups?
Good point on the increasing difficulty of raising investment capital for early-stage companies. To address this very real problem, SEMI has organized the Silicon Innovation Forum to bring together leading corporate investors (Intel, Applied, Samsung, Micron, Dow) with VCs and other investors at SEMICON West on July 9. About 25 early-stage companies will directly participate. More information at http://www.semiconwest.org/sif