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Being the world’s largest and most progressive maker of semiconductors, Intel Corp. is tremendously interested in keeping its manufacturing capacities fully loaded. The new chief executive of the company, Brian Krzanich, is expected to be much more flexible when it comes to making chips for others to keep fabs busy. He appears to show signs of being so.

The new chief executive of Intel does not rule out possibility of building chips based on ARM architecture that rivals Intel’s x86 in smartphones and tablets. At the same time, he remains cautious about such a project since Intel now has an indisputable advantage over companies that rely on ARM Holding’s architecture when it comes to manufacturing technology and the chip giant naturally does not want to share this trump.

Paul Otellini, the former chief executive officer of Intel, clearly stated that the company could make various chips – not necessarily x86-based – on a contract basis for Apple, a company that is a strategic customer of Intel. Brian Krzanich, the new CEO, seems to be a little more open: he is ready to manufacture chips for important clients in general, not just Apple. Given the recent rumours about Apple's contract with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the company may be a client that Intel is not going to get.

“I think you will start to see stuff with our silicon toward the end of the year and the beginning of next year. We are trying to get our silicon into some of them, create some ourselves, understand the usage and create an ecosystem,” said Brian Krzanich in an interview with Reuters news-agency.

 

At present Apple utilizes Intel’s x86 microprocessors inside its Macintosh personal computers. However, the amount of those PCs it sells is relatively limited. Meanwhile, all Apple’s iPhones smartphones and iPad media tablets – which sales are growing very rapidly – are based on Apple-designed custom ARM-architecture processors. Apple needs to make those chips using the most advanced process technology possible in order to provide better performance and longer battery life for its devices. However, Apple also needs over 200 million of its A-series system-on-chips per year, which requires production capacities that Intel may not be able to provide as this is comparable to the number of chips it sells per year.

While the foundry deal between Apple and Intel is unlikely to be signed until Intel starts to manufacture chips on 450mm wafers and starts to build completely new fabs, it is very likely that the new chief executive officer of the world’s largest maker of chips will pay more attention to the contract manufacturing business since its importance may grow dramatically over long-term future. 

Tags: Apple, Intel, Semiconductor, 22nm, 14nm, 10nm, 7nm

Discussion

Comments currently: 8
Discussion started: 06/29/13 02:06:50 PM
Latest comment: 07/15/13 10:23:38 PM
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1. 
this article is poorly written
1 1 [Posted by: Andiar Rohnds  | Date: 06/29/13 02:06:50 PM]
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- collapse thread

 
... and so is your criticism.

Could you apply the same journalistic standards to your work and explain why you thought the article was poorly written?
0 1 [Posted by: BushLin  | Date: 07/02/13 07:03:03 AM]
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I thought the article was fine, however remember that each Intel i7, or AMD Athlon II x86 64 bit core has more than 4 times as many transistors. As even the latest ARM A 15 cores, so that at 200 million chips would only be equivalent to 50 million x86 64 bit chips. Intel has pleanty of spare capacity due to people, switching to mobile from desktop. As they move to larger diameter wafers and smaller cores, they could have considerable overcapacity. True 14 nm is expensive to develop but once their over the hump economies of scale kick in, and they may need to sell more mobile chips than just Apple can buy. Billions of people will want 1080p, LTE Advanced, high graphics, high RAM, high flash, full high definition camera phablets. In the developed world, with their UD TV's and especially in the now larger than developed economies, emerging markets. These are markets where eyes for higher and higher definitions are young and don't need reading glasses. Further micro powerplants work far better, with low power drain devices, than desktops, in no time, fiber optic lines can go to LTE Advanced nodes all over the world. This is the hidden army of consumers developed and emerging market manufacturers crave. Remember there are 7 billion mobile phones, one for every man woman and child on Earth, over a billion smartphones and they all need upgrading. With 85% global literacy, who doesn't want eye candy, even if they can't read, I project 4 billion 6" 3D UD phablets by 2018. Think back 5 years, where were the smartphones, 3D monitors, 3D Blue Ray players, UDTVs. Now a dual core Jelly Bean phone is $150, 3D screen $ 270, 3D BD player $100, UD 39" coming out soon for $700, 2,600p x 1600p tablet $400.

WiFi ac can pump at 1GB/s a 4k UD movie in 4 minutes, Snapdragon 800 (LTE Advanced) and Tegra 4, with UD graphics capability, Nokia phones not only with the ability to record 4k, but 8k. Green Ray can store up to 20 UD movies, 5 UD 8k movies, it's time, to empower the massive middle income world market, with a flood of eye candy.
0 0 [Posted by: Stuart Brown  | Date: 07/14/13 03:46:06 PM]
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2. 
It's a case of "if you can't beat 'em, then join 'em"
2 1 [Posted by: linuxlowdown  | Date: 06/29/13 09:14:24 PM]
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agreed
0 0 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 07/03/13 10:58:50 PM]
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3. 
Is this a case of we missed the boat., lets try and swim to it as it has already left us behind?
Would it not be preferable to try and develop something NEW. not just copy some-one else ideas, as they did previously with the x86 chips
1 1 [Posted by: tedstoy  | Date: 06/29/13 10:22:13 PM]
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4. 
Seems a pretty sensible move to me if their fabs aren't running close to full output.

I'm sure they'll work it so that only exclusive customers like Apple get to use the latest fab technology with ARM chips and for general consumption they'll always put their own designs at a node level advantage.
0 0 [Posted by: BushLin  | Date: 07/02/13 07:07:11 AM]
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5. 
TSMC has a proven track record for fabbing many custom designs and also not playing favorites even with two GPU arch rivals using their fabs simultaneously. TSMC manages to do both because they have no conflicts of interest, can't say that for Intel.
0 0 [Posted by: Randomguy  | Date: 07/15/13 10:23:38 PM]
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