Chief executive officer of Nvidia Corp. this week called the world's largest chipmaker - Intel Corp. - to start making chips on contract basis for fabless chip companies, particularly for those, who design chips based on ARM architecture. Given the rough competition between Intel's x86 and ARM now, it is unlikely that Intel will follow the "advice".
Intel ceased making chips based on ARM architecture years ago as it believed it would be easier to cut-down power consumption of its own chips based on its own x86 architecture rather than to scale performance of ARM architecture to levels it believed were necessary. At present, the vast majority of popular smartphones and media tablets are running various ARM processors, including Nvidia Tegra. Intel so far has failed to gain traction on these two rapidly growing markets, but is actively trying to.
"Why not be a foundry for all the mobile companies? There’s no shame in that," said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia, during a conversation with journalists earlier this week, reports Forbes web-site.
In particular, the head of Nvidia called Intel to produce chips for companies, who use ARM architecture, including Apple, Broadcom, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and so on. Since Intel is trying to enter the market of new-age devices with its own Atom system-on-chip products, it is now vigorously competing against partners of ARM Holdings, the last thing it would ever do is to make chips for its direct rivals.
At present, Intel has the world's most advanced process technologies and semiconductor manufacturing capacities in addition to great talent. The 22nm process technology with tri-gate transistors, along with five factories that will be ready to produce chips using this tech later this year, are clearly jewels in Intel's crown and are among the main competitive advantages Intel plans to use against partners of ARM. Why would it make chips for its rivals?
"We have a small nascent foundry business, but our focus with our SOCs (systems on a chip) is really on Intel based platforms. Our process technology is a huge advantage going forward in 2012 and 2013, so our focus at this time is on building Intel products, not on building products for our competitors," said Intel spokesman Jon Carvill.