Intel eyes Apple mobile chip deal

Posted by Trent Nouveau

A new report indicate that Intel's next CEO could attempt to maneuver the corporation into a growing contract-manufacturing business.

According to Reuters, such a strategic shift may ultimately lead to a lucrative deal with Apple and perhaps even offer Santa Clara a "fighting chance" to finally make real inroads in the mobile arena.

Of course, manufacturing chips for other companies would mark a major change for Intel, which has spent decades branding and promoting its own processors to power a wide range of systems.

Nevertheless, such a chip deal with Apple or another industry heavyweight would likely help pave the way to the large-scale production of chips for select mobile devices, a highly coveted sector currently dominated by ARM and its low-power sipping SoCs.

"If you can have a strategic relationship where you're making chips for one of the largest mobile players, you should definitely consider that," Pat Becker Jr, of Becker Capital Management, told Reuters. "And for Apple, that gets them a big advantage."

Although Intel declined to comment on the above-mentioned report, Sunit Rikhi, vice VP and general manager of Intel custom foundry, confirmed that Santa Clara was ready to take on a potential large, unidentified mobile customer.

Meanwhile, Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said the corporation was in "constant discussions" with Apple which currently buys PC chips for its iMac and Macbook lineup. However, Mulloy, as well as an Apple spokesperson, refused to discuss alleged negotiations about a potential foundry relationship.

Nevertheless, Evercore Partners analyst Patrick Wang said he believed Intel ultimately needed a foundry component just so Santa Clara could get the best return on investment for all that capital it was spending.

"The next CEO is the guy or gal who's going to execute that strategy," he added.