Re: Chip shortage is the new "the dog ate my homework"
Unfortunately, for those of us working in electronics R&D, semiconductor shortages (not merely "chip" shortages - it's literally *everything* from complex ICs right the way down to bog standard diodes) are anything but a convenient excuse, they've been a very real and very significant part of our working lives for the past year or so, and by the looks of things will continue to be so for the next 6-12 months.
For sure, some companies will be using this as an excuse to hike prices, constrain supply etc, but most of us are doing these things as well not because we're all evil greedy bastards, but because if we didn't then we'd go out of business. It's been an utterly exhausting time for everyone in the business, trying to keep up with an ever changing supply situation - e.g. you find out first thing in the morning that a part you've been using is now out of stock literally everywhere on the planet and you have no choice but to find an alternative. You spend whatever time you need to spend doing basic due diligence on some likely alternatives which are all still showing up as available initially, but by the time you've figured out that, yes, this part would work OK, you go to check stock levels again and see they're either significantly diminished or completely out of stock as well, because if YOU'RE suddenly having to look for an alternative for a particular part, then you can be damn certain there are OTHERS doing exactly the same as you at the same time, and it's a race to see who can grab alternative stock the quickest.
And then, once you've managed to actually get stock of alternatives, you may then be faced with the need to so some additional redesign work (e.g. because the alternative isn't a true drop in replacement, but is at least close enough to stop it becoming a completely new design), environmental/EMC/safety recertification, production line reprogramming, BOM updates, new supplier agreements etc. The knock on effects of needing to change just one single component on a PCB could be huge, and right now if we were only needing to change one component then we'd consider ourselves lucky, more often than not it's a shopping list of parts that need to be swapped out.