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Monday, 17 February 2014 11:50

Intel should cosy up with Apple

Written by Nick Farrell



A bit like the last scene of Titanic

Intel and Apple are both seeing their glorious empires crumbling so IC Insights have suggested that it would be a wizard wheeze if they both teamed up. It thinks that Intel to might be open to cut a deal with Apple to put its idle Fab 42 to use. Fab 42 was supposed to be a large, advanced fab running in Chandler, Arizona, but Intel mothballed the plan.

It could be a good idea. Intel has a two per cent decline in IC sales while the worldwide IC market grew 6 per cent growth rate in 2013. Chipzilla needs to make some cash and it is not getting it from Atom. Apple, on the other hand, wants to get away from Samsung. It has signed on to have TSMC manufacture some of its chips.

So the big idea is that Intel uses Fab 42 to make 14nm chips and transition to 10nm for Apple. TSMC is at 20nm and is not that good at transitions. This would give Apple a huge advantage in having exclusive access to the most leading edge processing technology in the world and put it at least one to two years ahead of all of its competition.

Of course it is not that simple. It would take a while for Intel to get the Fab running and Apple cannot duck out of its contracts that easily. However, while it is possible, more people are going to comment on it. Our theory is that any marriage of convience between the two would be a bit like the scene in Titanic where Leonardo DiCaprio is hanging onto a board waiting to go under while Kate Winslet watches him sink. We are not sure which of the two is DiCaprio.

Nick Farrell

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