[Hmmmm. What to make of this? I think we'll get another Intel big announcement pretty soon...]
Intel's CEO seemed to throw cold water on a chip deal with Apple in Tuesday's earnings conference call -- though it really depends on how you read his comments.
When asked about making processors based on the ARM design -- such as Apple's A series chips -- Paul Otellini was quick to dismiss the idea.
"No," was the short answer from Otellini. The longer answer stipulated "ground rules" where Intel "would not enable a chip competitor."
But Otellini did seem to leave an opening for his successor, depending how you choose interpret his comments about the foundry business.
"It would be great if we could form a strategic relationship with a customer so that it went beyond just a single foundry transaction," he said, meaning that Intel would like to be more than just a garden variety contract manufacturer.
Otellini also said in the call that Intel's foundry business has passed the first stage and hinted at announcements to come.
"I've described the strategy before as a crawl, walk, run strategy. We're past crawling. We're in the mode of collecting serious customers...as you'd expect in this business, and there are some other customers that we still have not yet publicly announced," he said.
Whatever the case, Otellini will be gone in about a month and his successor may have very different ideas.
This might be correct.
Otellin also commented that that the foundry business would not be meaningful for couple of years.
This means a strategic deal with Apple would be Atom based and therefore not foundry.
It is hard to imagine how Apple could be so late in making a decision here because it would take a while to convert designs. It must be that Apple is prepared to use Intel's standard processors. They would not have to announce any decision until new Apple products were announced.
I also think the "no" is a stronger position then a few months ago. It is possible that he now knows it is not going down that way.
It is hard to imagine how Apple could be so late in making a decision here because it would take a while to convert designs
In my opinion Apple decision to go with TSMC was probably made at least 12 to 18 months ago.
Samsung uses gate first / TSMC gate last which as far I understand is not transparent. so they need to adjust design which takes time.
TSMC needs to provide fab space, order equipment (which can have up to 9 to 12 months lead time).
Apple decision to go with TSMC (which I assume they will) has been made on info/data that was available 12 to 18 months ago - making this decision based on today's data might be different.
A lot has changed over the last 12 months to Intel's advantage.
Intel demonstrated successfully that they can come with a SoC that is competitive.
Apple has very large work force of designers - if Apple would enter a strategic partnership with Intel Apple's internal structure would/could be affected.
Maybe Apple design team and Intel design team can come up with something that merges the best of Apple's world with Intel's world.
Apple's main enemy is Samsung - so Intel and Apple could forge an alliance to go specifically after Samsung while Intel by itself could persue its own SoC in emerging markets (Intel would go after the Mediateks of the world and after QCOM)