“Intel Corp has agreed to make chips on behalf of Altera, a significant step toward opening its prized manufacturing technology to customers on a larger scale, potentially including Apple,” Noel Randewich reports for Reuters. “Sharing its manufacturing plants, or fabs, to strategic customers could help the world’s top chipmaker offset the growing costs of developing new technology and help keep the plants running near capacity as Intel’s traditional PC business loses steam. Intel will make Altera’s programmable chips using its upcoming 14 nanometer trigate transistor technology, the most notable agreement of its kind announced so far by the chipmaker.”

“Intel has announced agreements to manufacture on behalf of Achronix Semiconductor Corp and other small chipmakers but Monday’s announcement with Altera, one of two leading programmable chipmakers, is potentially much larger,” Randewich reports. “‘They’ve crossed over the line from it just being a questionable experiment to – we’re going to do this for tier-1 customers,’ said RBC analyst Doug Freedman.”

Randewich reports, “With Intel struggling to find its footing in smarpthones and tablets with its own processor designs, some investors believe Intel may eventually agree to make Apple’s processors for the iPhone and iPad. ‘If and when we are called upon to serve large mobile customers who can drive a lot more volume, we could serve them today in terms of capability,’ Sunit Rikhi, Vice President and General Manager of Intel custom foundry, said. ‘I’m confident we have a very strong platform of offering upon which we can scale.’ He declined to discuss Apple specifically.”

Read more in the full article here.