Feb 12, 2021 - Technology

Governments, companies grapple with global chip shortage

Someone rolling a wafer up a hill.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A global shortage of semiconductors has everyone from gamers to global auto giants struggling to get the chips they need. Governments, too, see the issue as strategic and are trying to figure out how they can improve the situation.

Why it matters: Chips serve as the brains of computer systems — without them, you just have a bunch of components. And right now, demand is exceeding supply.

Driving the news: The U.S. is looking into what role it can play in improving the situation, the White House said Thursday, including a planned executive order "to undertake a comprehensive review of supply chains for critical goods."

  • Graphic chip maker Nvidia said it will free up a supply of older-model chips to help meet demand.
  • Chip trade group the Semiconductor Industry Association urged the government in a Thursday letter to fully fund chip investments authorized in the last defense spending bill.

Between the lines: As we’ve noted frequently in Axios Login, chips are one of the few strategic high-tech products made in the U.S.

  • Investing in domestic chip manufacturing could ease the ongoing shortage while also creating jobs and decreasing reliance on overseas factories.

Go deeper: Why Intel's troubles should concern us all

Go deeper