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Chip-Crunch recovery will be firm, as Apple can attest

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(Bloomberg) — The massive shortage of computer chips in 2021, a cloud hanging over companies ranging from Tesla Inc. For McDonald’s, it’s showing signs of backtracking. But not for everyone.

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While chip makers such as Qualcomm Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. On an confident tone this week, some products will remain scanty for some time to come. That left companies like Apple Inc. In trouble: Even as some semiconductor supplies are near average, they still lack the components needed to conclude their complicated technical devices.

On Tuesday, Apple said the shortage will contribute to lower growth this quarter and will only get worse. And there’s a ridiculous wrinkle: The iPhone maker expects to have enough of the more advanced chips the company needs. It’s the simplest – made from so-called old knot fabrication – that would be firm to come by. On Thursday, Samsung Electronics Co. The Cupertino giant’s largest supplier of lofty-end displays has warned that component shortages could affect shipments to unspecified customers in the coming months.

“It was firm to get the packed set of parts,” CEO Tim Cook said during a conference call. “The old nodes are where these supply restrictions were.”

Read more: Chip Belweather raises concern that industry will outpace demand

The problem boils down to this: even the most advanced Apple M1 processor can’t work on its own. Modern appliances rely on a myriad of distinct parts, some of which cost just a dime. Shortages of routine components such as a power regulator can lead to a thousand dollar items being out of production.

That company said the lack of parts is also hurting the availability of Microsoft’s Surface PCs and slowing the growth of the overall PC market. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said a shortage of computer chips will limit the automaker’s growth rate for the rest of the year.

Against this background, there is still plenty of pleasing news this week.

Although affected by a shortage of chips, Ford Motor Co. He said Wednesday that higher auto prices helped offset sales losses due to the shortage. Qualcomm, the world’s largest smartphone chip maker, expects “a significant improvement in supply by the end of the year”.

AMD also made an confident forecast, indicating that it will triumph market share from Intel Corp. chips on a server. But CEO Lisa Su has been warned that there will be “pockets of component shortages” plaguing personal computers.

Apple faces the situation from multiple angles. It is one of the largest consumers of semiconductors overall, and its in-house design efforts have made it one of the world’s largest chip designers. Apple said this week that the shortage has affected the company’s Mac and iPad computers. AMD also uses this company to produce chips, and its 99% acquire in the final quarter confirmed that it has a reliable source of supplies.

“We’re already seeing some level of limitation, but we’re making progress every quarter,” said AMD’s Su.

The lingering problem is that chip makers have much less incentive to invest in producing simpler types of semiconductors. These products bring low prices, and they are manufactured using outdated equipment.

And even if companies decide to spend more on production, it can take years to build and equip the plant.

For customers, this frustrating scenario will not go away soon. Tesla’s Musk said this week that a variety of chips have spoiled the company by becoming “the slowest part of our supply chain.”

“The supply of chips is basically the controlling factor over our production,” he said.

(Updates with Samsung comment in the third paragraph)

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