The decision by AMD and then Intel to pull out of the WSTS is to the detriment of the U.S. Semiconductor Industry, including both microprocessor vendors.
Historically, the WSTS has been able to secure broad participation in its data-gathering program because the individual company information is kept anonymous. Thus, the data is presented in such a way as to be extremely useful to the participating companies, as well as to the IC industry supply chain, without revealing proprietary company information.
With Intel and AMD controlling more than 90 percent of the MPU market, there may be some concern on their part that their data will be "exposed." However, WSTS has addressed this in the past by combining various product categories together (e.g., PLDs and standard cell ASICs) and could do so again (e.g., adding ARM-based smartphone application processors and tablet MPUs to the microprocessor category—where they should be anyway).
As mentioned earlier, the WSTS database can trace its beginning back to 1976. It should be noted that the SIA began in 1977 and counted both Intel and AMD as two of its five charter members.
For the past 35 years, the SIA has been responsible for the management or oversight of the WSTS program.
According to the SIA web site, its goals include the creation and establishment of public policy programs relating to:
Environmental, Safety, and Health
Research and Technology
Trade and Intellectual Property (including tariffs, antidumping, etc.)
When approaching state and national governments worldwide regarding the public policy programs listed above, unbiased, global and accurate IC industry market data has always been essential. This data has historically been available to the SIA through WSTS.
It has been demonstrated in the past that the WSTS statistics are an accepted source of IC market information that can be relied on as being unbiased and global, since almost all major IC companies in the U.S., Japan, Europe, South Korea and Taiwan contribute their company sales data. The worldwide nature of the WSTS data is especially important when the SIA is negotiating with foreign entities and governments.
If data from Intel and AMD is not part of the WSTS program, state and national governments worldwide may begin to question the validity of the WSTS IC market data used by the SIA, something that has not been an issue up to this point. Without IC sales from Intel and AMD included in the WSTS database, the Americas IC market could eventually appear much smaller and less important than it actually is. The result of this creates an impression of a smaller and weaker presence of the U.S. region and U.S. companies in the worldwide IC industry, which in turn serves to weaken the ability of the SIA to create and establish its important policy goals.
In speaking with an Intel spokeswoman about the company's withdrawal from supporting the WSTS program, IC Insights was told that Intel is currently part of over 200 groups and associations and that it cannot support all of them. Does that mean that the WSTS program, which in turn supports the SIA, ranks below over 200 groups and associations Intel continues to support today?
There is no question that a weaker WSTS database hinders the SIA's efforts to make and establish its public policies that benefit all of its membership, including Intel and AMD. Essentially, what harms the SIA and its policy-making efforts ultimately harms the entire U.S. semiconductor industry.
It is difficult to imagine Intel pioneer Robert Noyce and AMD pioneer Jerry Sanders (both SIA pioneers as well) condoning Intel and AMD’s current stance with regard to participation in WSTS.