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Intel to buy 15 percent of silicon fab equipment maker ASML, wants manufacturing machines made faster


Chipzilla didn't get its position as the king of semiconductors by twiddling its thumbs, folks. It became a Valley behemoth by delivering us faster and better silicon, and its latest $4.1 billion purchase -- a 15 percent stake in silicon manufacturing equipment maker ASML Holding NV -- should help keep Intel atop the CPU heap. You see, Intel's in the process of retooling its chip manufacturing process to use bigger diameter silicon wafers, which'll make those Ivy Bridge, ValleyView and other future chips cheaper for all of us. Such retooling can take years to implement, which is likely why Intel was willing to plunk down so much cash to ensure nothing futzes with its manufacturing timetable. The company's investment will presumably give it the clout to get ASML's crucial lithography equipment on the fast track to completion. Hop to it, fellas, we want our CPUs at bargain-basement prices, and we want them now.

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