This is really old news. Intel has been telling analysts and the press that it is cutting capital spending for a year now. If this "shocking story" is news to you, you haven't been paying attention. Go look up the stories that EETimes did last March. And again in June.
If this is supposed to be an indicator of more woes in the PC world, it's a year-old lagging indicator. Way to drive through the rear-view mirror, EETimes!
I understand that they plan now to invest for upgrades in the 3 existing fabs on site (Chandler). They had plans to upgrade the Ireland fabs which run at much older technologies. Upgrading these fabs to 14nm would be a major investment. It does make sense to us. It is cheaper to upgrade newer fabs which have newer technology nodes. The gap between the 22nm fabs and 14nm is much closer. Some tools of these fabs can be also used for 14nm. So, is Ireland still on the table and if so what is a good timing?
This is not a surprise. Intel has to balance their demand with their capacity. Building too much capacity causes excessive costs that show up on the bottom line. Upgrading an existing fab doesn't add as much capacity as bringing another fab on line. I'm sure they will bring it on line when the time is right. As for the older fabs, well in my experience, if they can't be upgraded, they will be shut down and sold off.
Is anyone else not particularly surprised by this move? It seems like Intel is doing what's encessary given the evolution of the market since they began their construction plans--but it's still a pretty signifcant indicator of the direction of that market nonetheless.
How exactly does this free up Intel to defeat ARM? It seems they are competing as much in their traditional PC space as they are in the lower-power and server segments where ARM is now moving with its 64-bit architecture.
I am happy that Intel has realized that the future is not just about the feature size of transistors but what the processor does. With its fixation on keeping the Moore's law alive, it got blinded and missed opportunities. I care not if the size of the transistor is 14nm if it can deliver excellently on mobile in power consumption.