President Biden to investigate semiconductor shortage with an executive order

The semiconductor shortage has proven critical, and President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to get to the bottom of it.


One of the big stories to emerge from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has been the shortage of semiconductors. The component is critical to assembling a number of major electronics and is a key reason why the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and NVIDIA RTX 3080s may have proven difficult to find. The shortage has become so concerning that President Joe Biden is looking to get to the bottom of it, calling for an investigation via an executive order.

"Semiconductors play a critical role in enabling the products and services that fuel our economy, contribute to American innovation, and enhance our national security," reads a letter to the President (via GameSpot) from a collection of tech companies. Those companies include names like Apple, Sony, and AMD, as well as automotive groups, who are citing the need for semiconductors in the construction of electric automobiles.

The semiconductor storm has been brewing for a long time. Our own Chris Jarrard recently wrote a feature that succinctly explained the threat of a computer component shortage.

Our current chip famine cannot be attributed to a single event, but rather a mixture of conditions that have led to what will inevitably be the most impactful chip shortage the world has yet encountered. The largest contributing factors to the current situation are the COVID-19 pandemic and overreliance on outsourced semiconductor fabrication suppliers.

As with just about all aspects of everyday life, the COVID-19 pandemic had enormous consequences on semiconductor supply. As companies struggled with shifts in labor availability and logistical strategy alterations to accommodate health and safety concerns, production efficiency took a hit. The world couldn’t simply operate the same way it had prior to 2020.

What the investigation from President Biden's executive order will ultimately yield remains to be seen. But as our recent feature noted, there is no simple fix to this problem and the semiconductor shortage stands to impact the supply of major electronics, such as the iPhone 12, for the foreseeable future.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 24, 2021 1:40 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, President Biden to investigate semiconductor shortage with an executive order

    • reply
      February 24, 2021 3:12 PM

      I mean, I don't think there's anything illegal going on here. If anything I'd love to see some action to incentivize semi-conductor production in the US or at the very least outside of south-east Asia.

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        February 24, 2021 3:15 PM

        I assume that a pre-requisite to make that case before congress would be a report showing how stupid it is that we rely so much on Asia for something so crucial to national defense. At the very least the dependency should be spread out so something like a regional conflict or natural disaster won't completely fuck us in the ass. Seems like semiconductors are critical enough to national defense that they should be subsidized, the same way we treat food production.

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          February 24, 2021 3:17 PM

          Yeah, I could definitely see it as a national security issue.

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            February 24, 2021 3:57 PM

            There are also places like Burlington VT that already have the infrastructure/expertise in place but could use a few billion to build out 5nm and smaller fabs.

            Or they could have bribed TSMC and the foundry they are building in AZ to be a next gen foundry and not a 5nm one.

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        February 24, 2021 4:28 PM

        Can he just reverse the tariff at least?

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          February 25, 2021 7:11 AM

          No major tariffs exist on chips from TSMC. Remember, they're Taiwanese, not Chinese.

          The switch from China-made products to Taiwanese-made products has led to a mini-boom in Taiwan, though.

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        February 24, 2021 9:54 PM

        If you read it, nothing like that is implied. It's not that kind of investigation. It's more like, how can we work to improve the situation?

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          February 24, 2021 9:56 PM

          (at least that was my superficial takeaway from the brief news stories, I didn't read the actual order, linked in this thread)

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      February 24, 2021 4:30 PM

      Instead of a covid check, can I get a covid gpu?

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      February 24, 2021 5:27 PM


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      February 24, 2021 9:59 PM

      I hope he looks into camping gear next. Backpack I've been looking at is finally back in stock but now the tent I want is out of stock, except for scalpers charging 3x msrp.

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      February 25, 2021 7:14 AM

      We ain’t found shit!

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