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The semiconductor crisis is worsening and industries are clashing

NZXT N7 B550
NZXT N7 B550 (Image credit: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • A global shortage of chips has hurt many industries, ranging from automobile makers to phone manufacturers.
  • Companies across these industries are trying to score each other's chip supplies, causing friction.
  • The U.S. government has been holding meetings with leaders in these sectors to see what the situation is and what, if any, amicable solutions are possible.

As the coronavirus' Delta variant rampages through Southeast Asia, causing chip factories in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia to delay production or intermittently shut down, companies across many industries are facing production pipeline problems.

According to The Washington Post, companies in entirely separate sectors are at each other's throats. Automakers want the chip supplies and resources that are currently going to smartphone companies, while smartphone companies argue that automakers can suffer for all they care and that it's not the smartphone industry's problem that automakers didn't plan accordingly for the coronavirus-stricken landscape.

"It's on industry to come up with the solutions here and to identify some of the path forward," said a Biden administration official about the situation, in the leadup to the Thursday (September 23, 2021) meeting between the White House and various industry leaders.

That's a general overview of the macro situation. On a micro level, the Kansas City Business Journal has an illustration of the immediate impacts of the chip shortage: Ford's and GM's Kansas-based auto assembly plants have seen sporadic shutdowns during 2021. Combined, these shutdowns affect nearly 10,000 employees directly as well as those at companies depending on Ford and GM.

That same report says the global automotive industry is primed to lose revenue to the tune of $210 billion in 2021 because of the shortage. The large figure is one example of how the chip shortage is affecting things beyond the availability of the best graphics cards, which are also being hurt by supply constraints.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

15 Comments
  • The silver lining here is that there is also less new car sales, which means lower number of cars on the road to date. Which is not only better for the environment, it's also better for the roads too as they won't have to be resurfaced that often. One would think, this would have been a good time to start re-surfacing the roads with something less heat absorbing than tar. But certain polluting industries still have a death grip on policies....
  • Probably it will mean that people will wait to replace their old cars, so on average they will pollute more
  • Yes and No, if there are levies on older polluting cars as in the uk. At one point it becomes less feasible to run. Thus being forced to using public transport. Economics is not a simple line of trajectory.
  • It doesn’t mean less cars. It means more older, more polluting cars still on the road.
  • That as well. However, here in the UK we have additional charges on vehicles that pollute more - which goes up every year. Which has forced alot more people to take public transport where feasible. Also, both of you haven't factored in that not everyone buys new cars frequently, nor does everyone diligently service their cars every few months. So, yeah it does mean ultimately less cars on the road. Also, you need consider the source of the electricity that's supplied to charge points. Another point to consider, manufacturers fiddling with emission numbers.
  • This is not the result, but actually has worse effects. It has actually made used car cost skyrocket (to the point of where some are actually more expensive than the new car price). This means people have to pay more for older vehicles that pollute more as others have said.
  • As others have said this won't make people drive less, but it will free up all that asphalt in new and used car lots for... well... other things. I believe this could also cause all the attendant problems in the car industry that the 2008 recession did for housing. In a few short years new cars could double in price. Cars purchased today could be worth far more in the future. (This is not investing advice and I am not a financial consultant)
  • Wow. Not much thought in that statement. Massive increases in car prices, new and used. Less revenue for companies. Possible lay offs due to decreased production. People still have to drive to work, to the grocery store, take kids to school. Life moves on whether they can buy a new car or not. Plus when you figure out a substance more readily available, more durable, and doesn't require replacing a city or states investment in equipment, let us know when we can use it to replace over 4.09 million miles of roadway in the U.S. alone. That's not even considering the budget considerations just for labor. These things take months/years of planning.
  • That's not at all what it means (other than the less new cars). It means more old cars that get worse milage AND pollute more.
  • Not necessarily, if levies price people out from using older used cars. The UK has a surcharge on diesels for instance. These levies go up every year.
  • The UK also has massive public transportation compared to something like the US. I don't even have public busses where I live (and that was in two different locations) in what would be considered the New Orleans Metro area.
  • I wonder what impact China's new ban on crypto will have on graphics card prices and availability.
  • Not much since NVIDIA siloed off its GPU business from crypto by releasing specific "crypto-only" cards. They did this to avoid the issues a few years ago where there was high demand until the market crashed and miners flooded the market with used cards.
  • And there goes IoT. It's dead. :)
  • I'm pretty sure VR tech is soon to follow!