Intel is temporarily suspending all commercial operations in Russia following the decision just over a month ago to suspend sales to both Russia and its puppet state, Belarus.
Days after Russian troops entered Ukraine and the conflict began, the chipmaker said it was complying with export regulations and applicable sanctions against the country – although US sanctions initially only concerned the supply of semiconductors for military or dual-use purposes.
“Intel continues to join the global community in condemning Russia’s war on Ukraine and calling for a swift return to peace. With immediate effect, we have suspended all business operations in Russia.
“Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this war, especially the people of Ukraine and surrounding countries and all those around the world with their families, friends and loved ones in the region.
“We are working to support all of our employees through this difficult situation, including our 1,200 employees in Russia. We have also implemented business continuity measures to minimize disruptions to our global operations,” Intel added.
Intel does not detail in its annual reports the volume of sales it generates in Russia, although the The Semiconductor Industry Association said Russia accounted for just 0.1% of global chip purchases in 2021 and accounted for $50.3 billion of the $4.47 trillion spent globally on technology.
Arch-rival AMD also halted chip sales in Russia in late February. “Based on sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other countries, AMD is currently suspending sales and distribution of our products in Russia and Belarus,” he said at the time.
We asked AMD if it would also freeze all business operations in Russia, but the company was not immediately available to respond.
US sanctions imposed days after Russia invaded Ukraine also affect other chipmakers, including Micron, SK Hynix and Samsung, as well as storage providers Commvault and Pure Storage.
The Russian semiconductor market is not designed to withstand the pressure of reduced supply: it is relatively underdeveloped and contract manufacturer TSMC recently made matters worse by confirming that it would not build chips for Russian customers.
Large sections of the computer industry in Europe and North America responded to the war in Ukraine with condemnation and withdrawal from Russia, including IBM, HP, Dell, Microsoft and many others. We previously asked PC brands Lenovo, Asus and Acer if they plan to do the same.
Lenovo’s UK PR manager told us he would “try to get a response as soon as possible”. It was March 10 and still no response. Asus did not respond at all. And Acer told us, “Our priority is the safety of our local employees and their families. We are monitoring the situation closely and will strictly adhere to all applicable trade regulations.
Very few tech companies have estimated the financial impact of leaving the country, but Adobe put the figure at $75 million for the current fiscal year.
UiPath said the damages for this would be closer to $15 million.
We’re told to expect a long tail of cyber retaliation from Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the use of sanctions: Early activity has included modem wiper malware targeting Viasat and credential thieves targeting NATO and the Eastern European army.
The Russian president has now banned the purchase of foreign software used in critical infrastructure projects. ®