There are two reports from China that say Intel will delay the release of Skylake, its next-generation microarchitecture chips, by a few months.
The reason is quite logical. Intel is just beginning to ship Broadwell, a 14nm shrink of its last microarchitecture, Haswell. Because Broadwell is a die shrink, there isn't any significant change to the chip from the Haswell line. But Skylake is a new architecture that promises performance gains over Haswell.
Broadwell was delayed due to challenges getting to 14nm and getting decent yields. Yet Intel has maintained Skylake was on target for a Q2 2015 release, which would have it coming to market almost at the same time as Broadwell. For some time, the tech press and semiconductor analysts have been wondering why Intel would do that as it risked cannibalizing itself.
The first claim of a delay comes from DigiTimes, which said on Monday that Intel has told its motherboard partners that Skylake processors and the accompanying chipset (which is what motherboard makers really care about) will not be out until August 2015. This could be a problem for these vendors, as they would want to show off new product at the Computex show in June and now they would not be able to.
The second story came from VR-Zone China, which posted what appears to be an internal Intel document showing that the Skylake desktop introduction date is between August 2015 and October 2015.
DigiTimes says that its sources – motherboard makers – are saying that the Skylake delay might be due to Intel wanting to avoid overlapping sales with previous platforms. That makes sense, but it also contradicts what CEO Brian Krzanich during the earnings call in January.
"We are not going to slow Skylake down. We said it will be a second half of this year. I don't want to slow it down because it brings a lot of innovation, a lot of new capability to this market," he told analysts.
But at the same time, it would be ideal timing for Microsoft. It is reportedly planning to wrap up Windows 10 by this June. Assuming it does, it will send Windows 10 gold code to OEMs that month, and OEMs can start building systems by July. If that's the case, then OEMs can come to market with new Skylake-based Windows 10 machines, rather than older technology.
Given Skylake was promised for next quarter, we will find out soon enough how accurate these reports are.