Intel hints at option of custom chip foundry for big customers
Reuters is reporting that Intel "wouldn't blink" if given the chance to make custom chips for Apple's devices, like the iPhone and iPad. At an investor event in London on Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith told journalists that "there are certain customers that would be interesting to us and certain customers that wouldn't." Apple, unsurprisingly, is one of the first type of customer.
Currently the A4 and A5 chips found in iPhones and iPads are manufactured by Samsung, but reports have hinted that Apple may be moving away from Samsung and jumping to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC) on a foundry basis. Given that Apple's A5 chip makes up a large portion of the $7.8 billion components contract Apple has with Samsung, it's no wonder that Intel would want to be a foundry chip maker for the Cupertino company.
As Smith told reporters, "If Apple or Sony came to us and said 'I want to do a product that involves your IA (Intel architecture) core and put some of my IP around it', I wouldn't blink. That would be fantastic business for us." She did also say that Intel would have to put more thought into considering being a foundry for custom chips that didn't involve an Intel architecture core: "Then you get into the middle ground of 'I don't want it to be a IA core, I want it to be my own custom-designed core,' and then you are only getting the manufacturing margin, (and) that would be a much more in-depth discussion and analysis."
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