Intel ‘Talking to Apple’ — But Is Anyone Listening?

Intel ‘Talking to Apple’ — But Is Anyone Listening?

Photo by Mike Turner - http://flic.kr/p/8SLd7p

Intel wants to be friends with Apple — or more specifically, Apple’s hoard of cash. As the PC industry craters and mobile devices seem to be the future, the chipmaker wants the tech giant to buy its Medfield design. Although Intel if talking, is Apple listening?

It’s not like Intel has its hat in hand, but it certainly is button-holing participants at the CES tech gathering. As we’ve been reporting all week, Apple is topic No. 1 in Las Vegas. Although Android is high on Intel’s list, company VP Dave Whalen told the Telegraph that he’s “talking to everybody.”

But Intel could have a tough sell with Apple. We recently reported that one Wall Street expert is betting against the chipmaker, predicting it is Apple that holds all the cards when it comes to mobile chips. Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rekesh downgraded Intel stock from Buy to Neutral, noting Intel rival ARM is coming on strong. What with declining sales of x86 chips to PC makers, Intel must turn to mobile devices, which could be an uphill climb.

According to Rekesh, during 2012-2013, major PC makers will adopt ARM in 10 to 15 percent of their devices — or 1 million PCs. To balance the loss of the more expensive PC chips, Intel will have to sell 4 million of the less-expensive mobile chips. Here again, Intel is in a tight spot.

That’s because it is smaller companies, such as Qualcomm and Marvell, that have the upper hand in mobility. Qualcomm is often used by smartphones, while Marvell produces ARM-based designs making their way into set-top boxes, such as Google’s TV device. Which also brings us back to why Intel is chasing after Apple while not trying to seem too needy. But Apple may be giving Intel a polite brush-off.

First, Apple has a long-standing relationship with ARM. The A5 chip is based on an ARM design. Apple has also spent mucho bucks securing primary contracts with Samsung and other chipmakers. Then there is the growing number of chip investments by Apple, including its latest, Anobit.

Of course, there is precedence for Apple to link up with Intel. But PCs are an entirely different animal than the iPhone or iPad. The reason Apple spent all the money on chip companies is its well-known need for control. Why drop that for a generic mobile SoC like Medfield?

But Intel shouldn’t worry. This year’s CES reportedly spans 35 football fields of vendors — someone must want to hire a down on its luck chipmaker.

  • iAidan

    “Apple is topic No. 1 in Las Vegas” Is that a fucking joke?

  • Ryan Feist

    no

  • MacAdvisor

    ” Vijay Rekesh downloaded Intel stock”

    Coud Vijay have downgraded from Buy to Neutral?

  • supertino

    I want to download some Intel stock too.

  • Aj Tk427

    Yah I got chewed out on another post where I questioned CoM biases to writing articles about CES that are slanted around the idea that everyone and everything is fighting Apple.

    Yes I agree that this an Apple blog and the articles should relate to Apple such as this one, but lets not get ahead of ourselves, just makes everyone think you’re drinking the Apple coolaid and no one takes you seriously.Yes of course the companies want to know what Apple is doing, but topic number 1?  I don’t think so.

  • djrobsd

    This article couldn’t be further from the truth.  Intel has a Rabbit in its hat, it’s called Samsung.. And remember that old rumor you guys tried to start about Apple ditching Samsung chips?  Well, Intel may be that way for them to ditch Samsung…   

  • Jeremy Conn

    The Intel Medfield chip seems like it has solved the power issues of past Intel mobile processors – why wouldn’t a smart company at least consider it?

  • crosswired

    Intel has never really been good with low power mobile chips. There’s a reason why most gadget makers use ARM processors. 

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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