Apple and Intel May Strike Deal on Chip Manufacturing

Intel and Apple each have a problem that the other could solve. Although Intel is the king of PC processors, the mobile chip market is a much different story--there, the company has barely made a dent in what has become a very competitive environment. At the same time, Intel has invested billions in world-class fabrication facilities that operate at less than full capacity.

Apple uses Samsung chips in its mobile devices, but the two companies have come to hate each other and have gone nuclear in court. (Remember that billion dollars Samsung now owes Apple? No love lost there.)

One obvious solution to this problem is for Intel to start manufacturing processors for Apple products. In fact, Intel has already begun testing the waters of becoming a foundry by bringing chipmaker Altera to its fabs, so it’s not too far-fetched to imagine that Intel may start relying on a foundry service business to supplement its income as the PC market dwindles.

iPhone 5
Apple iPhone 5

According to Reuters, Intel and Apple have been chatting about potential partnerships for a long time, and the site has Intel customer foundry VP and general manager Sunit Rikhi on record as saying that “his group is ready to take on a potential large, unidentified mobile customer”.

There’s one other awkward issue at hand though, and that is the fact that Apple uses ARM-based chips in its devices. But who knows, perhaps somewhere down the line Intel can persuade its (alleged) new foundry buddy to give its Atom processors a go.