How Intel lost the mobile chip business to Apple's Ax ARM Application Processors

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2015
Between 2005 and 2014, Intel fumbled the ball in mobile chips, losing its position as the world's leading processor supplier by failing to competitively address the vast mobile market and enabling Apple to incrementally develop what are now the most powerful mainstream Application Processors to ship in vast volumes. Here's how it happened, the lessons learned and how Apple could make it happen again.

Intel

How Intel lost the mobile chip business

Apple strategically targeted mobile Application Processors as a technology it wanted to own back around 2007, when the iPhone was barely a year old. It was effectively a reversal of a previous strategy that intended to simplify Apple's hardware operations by leveraging its 2005 partnership with Intel.

The initial development of the original iPhone made Apple realize that abandoning its history of custom chip development and delegating all silicon design to Intel had been a mistake. Prior to 2005, Apple had maintained a fluctuating but significant in-house custom chip design team. In the move from PowerPC to Intel, Steve Jobs eliminated that team.

However, while Intel was interested in selling its new Core x86 chips to Apple for use in Macs (and developing the supporting chipsets for them), it wasn't interested in building mobile chips for Apple's iPhone, at least not at the price Apple wanted to pay and in the quantity Intel expected Apple to buy.

Intel's former chief executive Paul Otellini (below) revealed last year that he didn't believe his company would able to earn enough money building mobile chips for Apple's new iPhone to cover its development costs, largely because he couldn't imagine Apple selling iPhones in large quantities.

Paul Otellini

Intel gives up XScale

Intel at the time actually owned XScale, an ARM chip producer, but it announced plans to sell off the group to Marvell in the summer of 2006 after any hope of a deal with Apple was lost.

Intel's inability to foresee the potential of Apple's new iPhone may have been colored by its disappointing experiences with XScale, the rebranded StrongARM group it announced plans to acquire from Digital Equipment Corporation in 1997 as part of a patent infringement settlement.

StrongARM had been a collaboration between ARM and DEC to build a new class of higher end ARM processors. Apple had been using StrongARM chips in its Newton mobile devices, but Jobs terminated that tablet product line just after Intel took ownership of its chip supply.

Intel had planned to use XScale to expand its influence into mobile and embedded devices where x86 compatibility was not necessary. StrongARM's modern "RISC" architecture appeared suited to replace Intel's own failed attempts to introduce non-x86 compatible RISC processor families, including its i432, i860 and i960.

Intel XScale ARM


However, after almost ten years of investment into XScale, Intel had seen few hit products using the chips and lots of duds (Palm Treos, Pocket PCs from Compaq and Dell, and Creative Zen MP3 players). Compared to the fat profit margins of its PC x86 chips, the XScale operation appeared to be nothing less than a money pit. That makes it more understandable why Intel wasn't exactly beating down Apple's door to supply it with a few million $30 ARM chips that would cost it many millions to develop and manufacture.

In hindsight however, Intel's failure to see the potential of the iPhone recalls HP not being interested in building the original personal computer designed by Steve Wozniak and Jobs; the two subsequently built their product into the first Apple. Thirty years later--thanks to Intel's lack of interest--iPhone eventually helped launch another new business for Apple: mobile Application Processors.

Intel begins badmouthing ARM, touting Atom

In 2008, a couple years after Intel exited the ARM business, two minor Intel executives made public comments dismissing Apple's iPhone and the ARM chip that powered it as being underpowered, at least compared to what it could be, were it to use an x86 Atom mobile processor from their company instead.

By that time, Apple's iPhone had already proven itself to be revolutionary and a major new feather in ARM's cap. Having sold off its own XScale ARM operations, Intel planned to target the potential for mobile devices using a new scaled down version of its desktop x86 processor (branded Atom), first in partnership with Microsoft's Windows Mobile, and later (after losing its bid for building the brain inside Apple's iPad) in 2011 partnerships with mobile Linux (using Intel's own Moblin distribution) and Google's rival Android.

Intel Linux 2011


Given those circumstances, it's no wonder why Intel representatives were badmouthing ARM in 2008. However, the poor optics of Intel mocking Apple, a major client, resulted in effectively a public apology by Intel's senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher, who candidly "acknowledged that Intel's low-power Atom processor does not yet match the battery life characteristics of the ARM processor in a phone form factor," adding, "Apple's iPhone offering is an extremely innovative product that enables new and exciting market opportunities."

iPad appears without an x86 chip

Shortly before Apple launched its original iPad in 2010, Intel appeared confident that Apple would select its x86 compatible Atom chips to power it, as the ARM Application Processors currently being used in iPhones appeared to be very limited compared to the tablet chips Windows Tablet and UMPC licensees were using.

Even Samsung--which had manufactured the chips for Apple's iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS based on designs licensed directly from ARM--was building its own UMPC tablets (such as the Q1, below) powered by Intel's x86 Celeron M chip, designated as "Ultra Low Voltage."

Nobody expected Apple to develop a tablet powered by a wimpy ARM chip intended for cell phones, in part because of the nonstop x86 propaganda radiating from Intel through the media via press releases, and in part because of Apple's fairly fresh partnership with Intel in Macs, which was then barely four years old. Apple had even developed its Apple TV set top box using a similar, low power Intel Pentium M processor.

Samsung Apple copy


Intel's Silverthorne (aka Atom) mobile x86 chip widely seemed to be the most logical choice for a new Apple tablet, particularly given the expectations set by Samsung and other Windows licensees adapting Microsoft's Tablet PC reference designs. Instead, Apple developed its own new A4 chip for iPad, and subsequently reused it in iPhone 4 and for a redesigned, iOS-based second generation Apple TV.

Five years later, Intel's Atom is still not competitive with Apple's rapidly advancing custom ARM chips. Intel's rather desperate recent efforts to pay Android manufacturers to use its chips has resulted in more than $7 billion in losses from the company's mobile division over the past two years.

Intel's latest earnings report notes that the company's mobile group again lost an astounding $1.11 billion in the winter quarter (on "negative revenues" of $6 million, meaning Intel was paying its clients to use its products). That makes Intel's Atom group responsible for cumulative losses within 2014 totaling over $4.2 billion.

Intel 2014 earnings


It's no wonder why, for 2015, Intel has announced it will no longer detail to investors how much money it loses from mobile (just like Google) as it gives away products in hope of someday creating a business that can turn a profit. Within one year after restructuring to emphasize its "Internet of Things" strategy, Intel is now reworking its earnings reporting again, shoveling its mobile losses into the still burning furnaces of its PC processors to incinerate any evidence of failure.

There is simply no basis for arguing that Intel--the world's most sophisticated processor maker--didn't lose out big to Apple in the relatively new market for mobile processors over the past five years. This is particularly incredible given the fact that Apple assembled its chip design team essentially from scratch in just a few years after realizing how important it would be to own the supply for its new mobile devices.

How Apple got into the mobile chip business

With Intel disinterested in developing chips for iPhone, Apple sourced its Application Processor for the first iPhone from Samsung, which was already a major component supplier for Apple, having produced hundreds of millions of the simpler ARM chips used in iPods. However, Apple's 2005 strategy of reliance on Intel for its silicon design expertise complicated its increasingly sophisticated ARM appetite in mobile devices.

John C Randolph explained that Apple "not having their own chip design experts in-house made for very poor communication with Samsung, which is why the H1 processor in the iPhone wasn't quite what they wanted, although it was exactly what they'd asked for; in other words, mostly Apple's fault, not Samsung's."

The relatively generic, Samsung-manufactured APL0098 chip that Apple used in the original iPhone (featuring an ARM11 CPU using ARMv6 instruction set, built using 90nm process) was far more powerful than the ARM7TDMI (ARMv4) processors Apple used in the first iPod (and which powered most Nokia phones and Nintendo's GameBoy Advance). They were, in turn, far more powerful than the original ARM6 (ARMv3) and StrongARM (ARMv4) chips used in Newton MessagePads from the 1990s.

However, back in 2007 no ARM chip was anywhere near as powerful as Intel's Core processors used in Macs. That made it an astounding feat that Apple was able to effectively port the entire essential OS X Mac environment to run on such an ARM chip in the original iPhone, along with an entirely new multitouch-based user interface.

Even after Apple first demonstrated iPhone, high-level executives, pundits and discussion boards all expressed disbelief that the company actually had the Mac's full Unix environment running on a mobile device. At the time, it did just not seem possible.

iPhone 2007


Other ARM devices had been running a far simpler OS environment such as Nokia's Symbian, Palm OS or Microsoft's Windows CE (which was related to desktop Windows PCs in name only).

Now that Apple had shown it could be done, there would inevitably be a race to duplicate its work. Microsoft ineffectually tried to beef up Windows CE; Nokia initiated efforts to improve Symbian or replace it with Linux; Google repositioned its initially far less ambitious JavaVM project into an iOS clone branded as Android; and both Palm and BlackBerry set out to develop "real" mobile operating systems for the modern era.

With so many fast followers behind it (all of them better capitalized and better connected than the Apple of 2007), it is now clear in hindsight that to stay ahead of the pack, Apple needed to not only drive a rapid OS development cycle, but also needed to drive hardware advances on its own.

By 2009, Palm webOS and Android would be looming as potential threats to iOS; a year later Microsoft and Nokia launched Windows Phone, followed by the 2011 release of the QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS.

Apple builds a chip design team

Apple's Jobs quickly realized that the company needed to rebuild an internal silicon design team and line up architectural licensing agreements with both ARM and Imagination Technologies that would enable it to work with Samsung to build its own optimized mobile chips, iterating new technology as rapidly as possible to stay ahead of competitors.

Somewhat ironically, over 15 years earlier Apple had co-founded ARM (in a joint partnership with British computer maker Acorn) with the express intent to create a new, mobile-optimized chip architecture capable of powering 1994's handheld "Personal Digital Assistant" Newton MessagePad tablet (below). Newton wasn't a tremendously successful product, but its openly licensed ARM processor architecture took off (thanks largely to adoption by Nokia) and subsequently took over the entire mobile industry.

Newton Message Pad


In the late 1990s, Jobs not only shuttered Newton but also liquidated Apple's holdings in ARM, gaining the cash needed to keep the company alive until it could return to strong profitability. A major driver in that push was the iPod, which used ARM processors built by Samsung. That made Samsung a natural partner for sourcing a more powerful Application Processor for the iPhone.

AppleInsider exclusively reported on Apple's secret licensing agreements made within a year of the original iPhone's launch, and covered the company's acquisitions of fabless chip designers including PA Semi and Intrinsity.

Apple's custom Ax series Application Procssors

Those investments began to pay off with the A4, introduced in 2010. It incorporated clock speed and RAM data bus enhancements that enabled it to drive the increased resolution of iPad, manufactured at a 45 nm process. While many in the media shrugged off the new iPad as "just a big iPod touch," nobody else could copy it.

Even Samsung, with its own version of the A4 chip (S5PC110, later rebranded as an Exynos 3), struggled to bring its own Galaxy Tab to market eleven months later, with smaller screen to shave off costs. The next year, Motorola used a comparable Texas Instruments OMAP 3 chip to deliver its Xoom tablet, but it was still not even ready for sale.

Meanwhile, Apple had not only put its A4 in iPhone 4 and Apple TV, but was ready to ship iPad 2 the following year with its dual core A5, a chip featuring twice the CPU power and eight times the GPU performance of A4. It was subsequently used in iPhone 4S, then followed up by the A5X powering the Retina Display "New iPad" that debuted in March 2012.

Later that year in September, Apple shipped iPhone 5 with A6, a new chip featuring an entirely custom "Swift" core design and manufactured at a 32 nm process. One month later, Apple released its A6X variant powering iPad 4.

A6


Apple's rapid advancement of Application Processors not only kept it ahead of Intel's x86 Atom chips, but also kept it competitive with rival ARM chipmakers. In fact, by the release of A6, Texas Instruments, one of the primary ARM fabs supplying chips products including Amazon Kindle Fire, Palm Pre, RIM BlackBerry Playbook, Motorola's Xyboard tablet and MOTOACTIVE music player, Nokia's N9, Google's Nexus Q and Galaxy Nexus--was ready to exit the consumer market, largely because it was unable to justify the expense of developing new generations of OMAP chips in competition with Apple.

Apple recruited chip design talent away from Texas Instruments, along with other struggling chipmakers including AMD, IBM and Freescale. Meanwhile, Apple had acquired Anobit and would later gobble up Passif Semiconductor.

Apple didn't just become a respectable, competitive chip designer; in 2013 it passed up the rest of the Application Processor industry (within three years of releasing its first custom A4 chip in 2010) by introducing A7, the first 64-bit ARMv8 to reach real production, using an entirely new Cyclone core design and a 28nm process.

A7


This year, Apple further refined its 64-bit Cyclone architecture in A8 and A8X, manufactured at a 20nm process. Apple's closest competitors--Samsung, Qualcomm and Nvidia--still haven't produced a 64-bit ARM chip suitable for use in phones. Nvidia has dropped out of the phone business entirely. And when Samsung and Qualcomm do ship their first 64-bit chips later this year, they'll be using generic core designs by ARM.

A8X


Designing its own Application Processors has given Apple enormous vertical advantages, and it recycles investment and vast economies of scale in a way that exclusively benefits itself rather than making it easy for competitors to catch up.

Apple's integration of hardware and software technology is not only keeping its iOS devices competitive, but also wiping out alternative supplies of higher end chip offerings. Intel has been forced to lose billions of dollars each year while paying manufacturers to use its chips. That's something most chip makers simply can't afford to do, and even Intel has said it will not keep subsidizing its Atom chips this year on a similar scale.

The tremendous investment expense required to keep up with Apple's Ax design has effectively given the company the luxury of keeping the premium high end market to itself, via its vertically integrated ownership of the chip supply. And increasingly, Apple's profits will enable it to buy up more and more of the finite chip production capacity of fabs such as TSMC and Samsung/ GlobalFoundries, particularly at the latest and greatest chip process fabrication node.

Google and Microsoft have already reached a point where they have few options for assembling Android or Windows tablets that can compete with Apple's latest iPad at similar price points, and the chip supply for advanced phones is also down to a trickle.

While it's grown popular to predict that Apple will duplicate its incredible success in Application Processors to next replace Intel's x86 chips in Macs with its own custom ARM chips, there are significant barriers in the way and a series of more valuable opportunities available to Apple's silicon design team, as the next article will examine.

After eating Intel's mobile lunch, Apple could next devour Qualcomm's Baseband Processor business

How AMD and Nvidia lost the mobile GPU chip business to Apple

After eating AMD & Nvidia's mobile lunch, Apple Inc could next devour their desktop GPU business
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    Didn't you run this same article a couple weeks ago AI?
  • Reply 2 of 65
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,938member

    I suspect from rumors of hirings that GPGPU's are now in Apple's future; this is not good news for Nvidia in the mobile market. Perhaps Nvidia will be seen as very savvy to enter the automotive processor market, where Apple does not compete.

     

    There was a roadmap published recently indicating which foundries would get which generations of processor from Apple. Of interest is that Apple is becoming a monopsony, leveraging its volume to continue to gain production priorities at newest nodes, and continuing to lead the market in power efficiency.

  • Reply 3 of 65
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Didn't you run this same article a couple weeks ago AI?

    I thought I read it somewhere, too...
  • Reply 4 of 65
    Can someone explain to me why does A8 chip have 3 billion transistors compared to Intel's (Haswell' i7) 1.4 billion transistors?
  • Reply 5 of 65
    Wait a second. So Anand Chandrasekher worked for Intel before Qualcomm?

    So he puts his foot in his mouth and insults Apple while at Intel, and instead of learning his lesson he does it again at Qualcomm claiming Apples 64bit A7 was a gimmick?

    Does this guy ever learn?

    And shame on you, DED, for not catching that and putting it in the article. ;)
  • Reply 6 of 65
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member

    I also noticed Intel's negative mobile revenue when they reported. Negative profits happen all the time, of course, but Intel having to actually pay OEMs to use its mobile chips is reminiscent of the kid whose parents tie a pork chop around his neck just to get the dog to play with him.

  • Reply 7 of 65
    acatomic wrote: »
    Can someone explain to me why does A8 chip have 3 billion transistors compared to Intel's (Haswell' i7) 1.4 billion transistors?

    The A8 also has things like image processing (for the camera) and H.265 hardware coding built into the silicon. There could be other items we're not aware of. Either way, the A8 is damn impressive.
  • Reply 8 of 65
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by acatomic View Post



    Can someone explain to me why does A8 chip have 3 billion transistors compared to Intel's (Haswell' i7) 1.4 billion transistors?

     

    My understanding is that it's the A8x (ie the larger "desktop" or iPad version of the A8) that has 3 billion transistors, and that the chips Intel just released are the trimmed-down low-power mobile versions of the i7 that have 1.4B.

     

    But yeah, I thought that was weird, too, considering that a significant amount of silicon in x86 designs has to go toward emulating the x86 instruction set (translating instructions into micro-ops for a RISC-like core to churn through). I think that the potential for the ARM designs that Apple is using is a lot closer to legacy x86 "desktop" chips than anyone realizes...

  • Reply 9 of 65
    netroxnetrox Posts: 780member

    "Can someone explain to me why does A8 chip have 3 billion transistors compared to Intel's (Haswell' i7) 1.4 billion transistors?"

     

    Good question - I wondered the same thing and with so many transistors packed in, how come it doesn't run hot at all compared to x86 chip of similar count?!?

  • Reply 10 of 65
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,428member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acatomic View Post



    Can someone explain to me why does A8 chip have 3 billion transistors compared to Intel's (Haswell' i7) 1.4 billion transistors?



    Intel only counts the number of transistors in the CPU schematic.

     

    I believe Apple counts all of the transistors in the package, which includes the graphics cores, RAM, etc.

     

    The A8X SoC does not have RAM in the package, Apple uses external RAM. However, there is an extra CPU core in the A8X.

  • Reply 11 of 65
    afrodriafrodri Posts: 190member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by acatomic View Post



    Can someone explain to me why does A8 chip have 3 billion transistors compared to Intel's (Haswell' i7) 1.4 billion transistors?

     

    I've seen the A8 estimated at 2 Billion, not 3. This probably includes the 1GB LP DDR, which is a billion transistors by itself. I'm guessing the 1.4B number is just the SRAM and logic transistors.

     

     

    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/189787-apples-a8-soc-analyzed-the-iphone-6-chip-is-a-2-billion-transistor-20nm-monster

  • Reply 12 of 65
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acatomic View Post



    Can someone explain to me why does A8 chip have 3 billion transistors compared to Intel's (Haswell' i7) 1.4 billion transistors?



    Intel only counts the number of transistors in the CPU schematic.

     

    I believe Apple counts all of the transistors in the package, which includes the graphics cores, RAM, etc.

     

    The A8X SoC does not have RAM in the package, Apple uses external RAM. However, there is an extra CPU core in the A8X.


    If I'm not mistaken, i7 includes integrated GPU as well as and 6MB cache, just like the  A8 which only has 3 cores where as the i7 has 4 cores.

  • Reply 13 of 65
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,428member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    If I'm not mistaken, i7 includes integrated GPU as well as and 6MB cache, just like the  A8 which only has 3 cores where as the i7 has 4 cores.




    Intel uses a variety of GPUs in the Haswell lineup. Intel only counts the number of transistors in the CPU schematic, which would not include the graphics core transistors which vary from model number. Intel uses a variety of HD or Iris graphics subsystems in Haswell.

     

    Haswell Xeon E5 processors have no integrated graphics, the Xeon E3 family does in most cases, but not all. For Core i7 and Core i5 families, there are a couple of models that have no integrated subsystem, although most do. All the Core i3 models have integrated graphics.

     

    For a given Apple A_ chip model, there are no graphics variants, they all have the same GPU subsystem, so Apple counts up everything.

     

    The latter point reveals some of the cost advantage that Apple has. They're not making 50+ variants of a chip. They make just one, in quantities over a hundred million, for one handset (well, now it comes in two screen sizes). Samsung on the other hand makes many models, and even in some of their high-end models, have different CPUs for the same handset. There's little cost savings from volume part usage.

     

    Even Intel is making fifty or so variants of Haswell, so CPU quantities are split up between all those variants. They have to, their customers expect a wide range of CPU speeds and capabilities. 

  • Reply 14 of 65
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by afrodri View Post

     

     

    I've seen the A8 estimated at 2 Billion, not 3. This probably includes the 1GB LP DDR, which is a billion transistors by itself. I'm guessing the 1.4B number is just the SRAM and logic transistors.

     

     

    http://www.extremetech.com/computing/189787-apples-a8-soc-analyzed-the-iphone-6-chip-is-a-2-billion-transistor-20nm-monster


     

    The A8 is 2 billion; the A8x is 3 billion:

     

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/10/20/apples-aapl-a8x-chip-looks-seriously-impressive.aspx

  • Reply 15 of 65
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member

    More anti-Intel AI propoganda? I believe AI is in AMD's pocket, on the take! How many similar smear stories will AI publish this month? What BS! Does this rag have Alzheimers? What a joke! Or at least change the name to Intel Insider.

     

    How Intel lost the mobile chip business to Apple's Ax ARM Application Processors

    01/19/2015, 03:42:00 PM, Posted By Daniel Eran Dilger


    Between 2005 and 2014, Intel fumbled the ball in mobile chips, losing its position as the world's leading processor supplier by failing to competitively address the vast mobile market and enabling Apple to incrementally develop what are now the most powerful mainstream Application Processors to ship in vast volumes. Here's how it happened, the lessons learned and how Apple could make it happen again.




    Intel CEO confident chipmaker can keep powering Apple's Macs by innovating

    01/16/2015, 10:19:00 AM, Posted By Sam Oliver


    Amid increasing chatter that Apple may consider migrating the Mac to its own in-house ARM processors, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on Friday characterized the two firms' relationship as "strong" and reiterated Intel's strategy of competing for business based on performance, price, and reliability.




    Five barriers that might hold Apple back from moving Intel Macs to custom ARM chips

    01/16/2015, 08:24:00 AM, Posted By Daniel Eran Dilger


    Shortly after Apple introduced its first custom A4 Application Processor in 2010 to power the original iPad, rumors began to suggest the company could eventually migrate its Macs from Intel x86 processors to ARM chip designs of its own. However, there's a series of significant hurdles the company would need to jump first. 




    Why Apple might consider leaving Intel's x86 for its own ARM chips in future Macs

    01/14/2015, 03:27:00 PM, Posted By Sam Oliver


    Though many will scoff at the notion of an iPad and Mac that draw from the same family of application processors, it's not as farfetched as it seems. AppleInsider takes a look at why today's chipmaking giants could find themselves on the outside looking in during an Apple product launch in the near future.




    Apple may shun Intel for custom A-series chips in new Macs within 1-2 years

    01/14/2015, 10:43:00 AM, Posted By AppleInsider Staff


    Mac buyers in 2016 and beyond could have the option of purchasing a machine powered by Apple's A-series processors, which currently sit at the heart of the iPhone and iPad, according to KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo




    After Intel spent billions to subsidize 40M Android Atom tablets, Microsoft releases Office only for ARM

    01/07/2015, 06:31:00 PM, Posted By Daniel Eran Dilger


    Intel's mobile chip division has lost $7 billion over the last two years while heavily subsidizing the manufacturing costs of Android tablet makers agreeing to use the chipmaker's Atom mobile x86 processors. Microsoft's new Office for Android won't run on any of them.


  • Reply 16 of 65
    Interesting article!
  • Reply 17 of 65
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,577member

    I don't think that there is any question that Apple makes the most powerful ARM processors out there for mobile devices, but is it fair to say that Apple is the reason for Intel's piss-poor state in mobile chips? Android smartphones have something like 80 percent of the global smartphone market, and they're all running "Other" ARM processors from Qualcomm, MediaTek, etc.

     

    Even if Intel supplied ALL of Apple's mobile processors, there is still a VAST untapped market from the "Other" category.



    Or am I looking at this the wrong way?

  • Reply 18 of 65
    Entire article could be shortened like so:

    PA semi acquisition.
  • Reply 19 of 65
    pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member

    I see folks here crying over the unfairness of it all ("Just leave Intel alooooone!") but I thought it was a pretty good article. Intel has been tops in processor design and manufacture for years, and it's seriously lagging in mobile offerings now (and paying the price).

     

    That's a legitimate story.

  • Reply 20 of 65
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,304member

    It has always seemed to me that Apple’s partners consistently drop the ball at critical times. Moto and IBM didn’t advance the PPC to keep up with Intel X86 development. Nvidia, ATI, Radius all screwed up on graphics cards and hurt Apple. Even today we have third party graphics causing trouble, namely the MacBook Pro lawsuits. So it would seem both logical and good business for Apple to develop critical hardware chips in house. But then the question of who does the fabrication arises. I’m sure Apple is not interested in getting into the fab business itself but maybe they will have to one day. 

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