Intel opens chip foundry business to outside companies, paving way for potential deal with Apple

“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.

12 Comments

  1. I believe Apple already makes chips in Austin, Texas with Samsung. Ok, never mind. Yes, pull the A5 processors from Samsung and let Samsung eat the $3.6 billion chip production line. So, if Apple wanted to buy Intel, what would it cost? $100.06 billion. That is a bit rich. What would it cost to start making your own processor chips? $10 or $20 billion. Ok, that works. Use some of the oversea’s money that the government will not let you bring home to the USA. Make sure everyone knows why the chips are not “Made in USA”.

  2. I very much doubt Intel will open its foundries to become a major ARM supplier. This will effectively mean that it has lost confidence in its Atom architecture which is what it is trying to push for mobile, power optimised applications such as smartphones and tablets.

  3. Let’s count the ways that this is a good idea.

    1) Opportunity to screw Samsung.
    2) Give business to a US company (Intel)
    3) Have Apple’s mobile chips made in the USA at an Intel factory
    4) Enlist a big boy (Intel) as an ally in the battle against Samsung.
    5) Pull Intel further away from the Windows universe.

    Maybe in the future the term Wintel will be replaced by Apptel. That has a certain ring to it I’d say.

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