What could the world's biggest semiconductor manufacturer want to do with Taiwan's biggest independent foundry? That's what we're about to find out. Intel sent us an e-mail this afternoon with word of an upcoming joint announcement, where Intel executives Anand Chandrashekar and Sean Maloney will speak alongside TSMC's Rick Tsai and Jason Chen. The event will take place on March 2.
We have no details about the announcement itself yet, but we can have some fun speculating. Everybody knows Intel is quietly getting its Larrabee discrete graphics processor ready for the mass market, so perhaps Intel will follow in the footsteps of Nvidia and AMD by getting TSMC to manufacture its GPUs. Then again, Intel already has formidable manufacturing resources of its own, and the presence of Intel Ultra Mobility Group chief Anand Chandrasekher suggests something unrelated to graphics.
According to DigiTimes, the economic downturn may lead TSMC to its first loss in 20 years this quarter, following a 30% decline in revenue last quarter. Although Intel isn't doing particularly well, either, it could conceivably use the situation as an opportunity to partner up with the foundry in some other way—like buying a chunk of it. Or, you know, this might end up being something totally unexciting.