Intel CEO hopes to win back Apple with a 'better chip'

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Intel's Pat Gelsinger says that the company hopes to win back Apple's business, but it will need to create a better chip than Apple Silicon to do it.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger


As Apple prepares to announce the next devices in its transition to Apple Silicon, the CEO of Intel says that he will never give up hope that Macs will return to using his processors.

Speaking to Axios, CEO Pat Gelsinger did also say that he would "never give up on the idea of anything not running on Intel chips." But specifically for the Mac, Gelsinger said that it will take doing better than Apple can before they can convince Tim Cook to switch back.

"Apple decided they could do a better chip themselves than we could," he said. "And, you know, they did a pretty good job. So what I have to do is create a better chip than they can do themselves."

"I would hope to win back this piece of their business," he continued, "as well as many other pieces of business, over time."

"In the meantime, I gotta make sure that our products are better than theirs, that my ecosystem is more open and vibrant than theirs, and we create more compelling reason for developers and users to land on Intel-based products," said Gelsinger.

"So I'm gonna fight hard to win Tim's business in this area," he concluded.

Apple announced its transition away from Intel at WWDC in 2020. Since then, Intel has said it wants to manufacture Apple Silicon. In now multiple mocked ad campaigns, it has also hired the former "I'm a Mac" actor Justin Long to extol Windows, and tried to convert Mac fans in a "social experiment."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    dk49dk49 Posts: 185member
    These words may backfire on him if they are unsuccessful in creating a better chip.
    llama
  • Reply 2 of 55
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,124member
    dk49 said:
    These words may backfire on him if they are unsuccessful in creating a better chip.
    How?  I don't think he's suggested the task will be easy anywhere.

    Seems like a sensible and pragmatic sort, and fairly humble by CEO standards, good luck to him.
    rcfamuthuk_vanalingamGeorgeBMacdewmelkruppMplsPwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 55
    ? I know three engineers who work for Intel, one of them complained to me for years that the only solution was adding more capacitors which adds more heat.  All of this was true but Apples approach wins out because the engineers I talked to at Intel didn’t see a way forward and now the CEO knows today that they’re going to be destroyed by these new chips, obliterated is a more correct term to use…
    ravnorodomdk49caladanianbshankwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 55
    Apple's strategy has been vertical integration by controlling all key aspects of the software and hardware stack. This isn't possible with CPUs that have to be designed with all eventual use cases in mind. Product cycles (initial planning to rollout) are extremely long, leaving Apple with little control over the end product. Reversing this must have been a strong incentive to Apple when making the final decision to take this inhouse.

    Getting there took Apple many years of due diligence, prototypes and validation. It is not going to be reversed on the grounds of potential faster CPUs / more power-efficient CPUs if control has to be sacrificed for good. And this scenario would not materialize unless Intel executes on their claims of regaining process leadership. If they do, Apple could easily adopt Intel's foundry service, resulting in a much more probable win / win for both companies. Intel's Foundry services are open to competing architectures such as ARM and RISC V even today.
    equality72521GeorgeBMacchadbagviclauyycbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 55
    Fred257 said:
    ? I know three engineers who work for Intel, one of them complained to me for years that the only solution was adding more capacitors which adds more heat.  All of this was true but Apples approach wins out because the engineers I talked to at Intel didn’t see a way forward and now the CEO knows today that they’re going to be destroyed by these new chips, obliterated is a more correct term to use…
    Don't you mean Transistors?
    Fred257watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 55
    Sounds like he understands the task at hand and that it won’t be easy. I like how he frames it as earning Apple’s business. This is the right approach. 

    Hopefully intel (and amd) deliver their solutions on time. Intel really stumbled, it was sad to see. But Apple M1 is impressive. And M1x/m2 will be as well.  But hopefully intel is coming back with Alder Lake, Raptor Lake, and Meteor Lake.  Only time will tell. The next few years in tech will be interesting. 
    crowleydewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 55
    It’s cute that he thinks Intel can outcompete Apple’s silicon efforts when they’re still digging the foundations for their chip fabs. 

    But even if Intel could somehow produce a better chip in the next 15-20 years, Apple won’t be interested. They don’t want someone else’s chip technology. They want to design their own custom silicon to match their strategic roadmap. 

    Apple’s done with Intel’s chips, and for its own sake Intel needs to move on and stop acting like a clingy ex. 
    the1maximusequality72521robin huberravnorodomking editor the gratechadbagcaladanianviclauyycbshankkingofsomewherehot
  • Reply 8 of 55
    omasouomasou Posts: 264member


    That ship has sailed!
    the1maximustechconccornchipdocno42chadbagviclauyycbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 55
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,506member
    The only way this could ever happen is if Intel dropped x86 and switched to a modern architecture. But I don't think that's going to happen for a long time. They invented Itanium for exactly that reason and refused to add 64-bit support to x86 to try and make people switch, but it didn't catch on. Instead AMD bodged 64 bit onto x86 so Intel followed, and here we are.

    We know Intel hit the performance wall some time ago, so it remains to be seen whether Apple can keep up with its leaps in performance each year. Hopefully the lack of focus on performance at this year's iPhone keynote was just a bump - though a worrying number of people known to be incredible silicon engineers have left Apple in the past few years. 
  • Reply 10 of 55
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,506member
    Fred257 said:
    ? I know three engineers who work for Intel, one of them complained to me for years that the only solution was adding more capacitors which adds more heat.  All of this was true but Apples approach wins out because the engineers I talked to at Intel didn’t see a way forward and now the CEO knows today that they’re going to be destroyed by these new chips, obliterated is a more correct term to use…
    Of course you do. There are no capacitors in CPU (cores) for a start, and if you meant transistors you'll find that Apple's M1 has ~16bn transistors, twice as many as the 24-core Xeon 8180. That's ballooned from 3.3bn in the A10.

    Adding transistors doesn't necessarily = more heat, because they're not all constantly switching - which is the only time they are dissipating heat. Application specific silicon can reduce the heat produced but increase the transistor count because there are less total transistor flips for a particular piece of code to execute: it's more efficient. And as above, if that silicon is idle it's not using power. 

    Intel CPUs are so inefficient because they are essentially a CISC interpreter ontop of a RISC CPU. Plus due to backward compatibility, there are thousands of SIMD extensions that are used by barely anything but can't be removed due to the few customers that do need them.
    edited October 18 muthuk_vanalingamravnorodomllamaMplsPviclauyycjony0
  • Reply 11 of 55
    "that my ecosystem is more open and vibrant than theirs, and we create more compelling reason for developers and users to land on Intel-based products," said Gelsinger."
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    Jayzzzuuuzzzzzz !!
    cornchipdocno42qwerty52watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 12 of 55
    The better chip is already here, and what Apple needs from Intel are fabs that will build them here. 
    ravnorodomwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 13 of 55
    Actually Pat Gelsinger’s statement is an official admitting, that Apple’s decision to go further with an own designed chip was a very good decision and also an official admitting that Apple’s M1 is a better chip than the Intel’s ones. 

    And did he said anything about Intel’s
    anti-Apple add-campaign or I’ve missed something?
    edited October 18 docno42watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 14 of 55
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,727member
    rome2807 said:
    Apple's strategy has been vertical integration by controlling all key aspects of the software and hardware stack. This isn't possible with CPUs that have to be designed with all eventual use cases in mind. Product cycles (initial planning to rollout) are extremely long, leaving Apple with little control over the end product. Reversing this must have been a strong incentive to Apple when making the final decision to take this inhouse.

    Getting there took Apple many years of due diligence, prototypes and validation. It is not going to be reversed on the grounds of potential faster CPUs / more power-efficient CPUs if control has to be sacrificed for good. And this scenario would not materialize unless Intel executes on their claims of regaining process leadership. If they do, Apple could easily adopt Intel's foundry service, resulting in a much more probable win / win for both companies. Intel's Foundry services are open to competing architectures such as ARM and RISC V even today.

    Very true!
    But, there is another aspect that will carry that even further:

    Apple will increasingly integrate their product lines into one cohesive whole.  That means that the Mac line will no longer be an orphan, the weird uncle who's only invited on holidays.  It will become an integral part of a family of products in which each interacts, supports and strengthens the others.

    But that cannot happen if it would return to using non-Apple hardware that is essentially incompatible with Apple's other core products:  AppleWatch, iPhone and iPad.

    The hardest and most failure prone aspect of any computer system is its interaction with other computer systems.  The more those barriers between systems are eliminated the more stable and powerful they become.  Putting what is essentially an iPhone processor in Macs went a very long way to breaking down those barriers.   And that is an advantage that Intel, AMD or even Samsung can ever match.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 15 of 55
    dk49dk49 Posts: 185member
    crowley said:
    dk49 said:
    These words may backfire on him if they are unsuccessful in creating a better chip.
    How?  I don't think he's suggested the task will be easy anywhere.

    Seems like a sensible and pragmatic sort, and fairly humble by CEO standards, good luck to him.
    Yes he is humble about it. But the media is not humble like him. I can totally see media quoting this interview in future if Intel fails to deliver a better chip. 
  • Reply 16 of 55
    Intel:

    We want to win their business back.

    Also Intel: 

    Anti-Apple Campaign


    At this point, I think that it would take a literal miracle for Intel to win back Apple's business. Especially since they started an Anti-Apple campaign. Apple execs tend to have long memories abut these kinds of things. Also, what ecosystem is Intel talking about? Windows??  That's not exclusive to Intel. 
    lkruppcornchipdocno42viclauyycbshankwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 55
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,948member
    crowley said:
    dk49 said:
    These words may backfire on him if they are unsuccessful in creating a better chip.
    How?  I don't think he's suggested the task will be easy anywhere.

    Seems like a sensible and pragmatic sort, and fairly humble by CEO standards, good luck to him.
    Absolutely right to create aspirational goals to motivate his troops.

    If there is anything that we’ve learned in technology, it’s that there is never certainty about who will win and who will lose over time and with the advent of new game changing technologies and products. There were many “experts” who laughed at the possibility that Apple could ever surpass Microsoft or that Microsoft could surpass IBM. Where I grew up it seemed like there was DEC campus on every street corner and today there are none, zilch, zero. 

    Tim Cook made the right call to invest in Apple Silicon, but it was made in the reality of the time in which Apple needed to make a move to overcome the limitations that Intel imposed on Apple’s current product lines. But Tim Cook, and Tim Cook’s successor, are both highly successful business leaders who know how and when to make unemotional decisions that steer their business towards the best possible results. If Intel can come up with a chip, chipset, computational engine, or whatever we’ll call it when it arrives that is better and more cost effective than what Apple can produce internally, Apple will move to using those components. 

    I’d imagine there were more than a few PowerPC fans who scoffed at the possibility of Intel replacing their baby on the Mac.

    Never say never.
    docno42viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 55
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,727member
    This guy is fighting the wrong war.
    His battle is not to win Apple back (they're gone forever from the world of x86).

    The war he is fighting is x86 versus ARM based processors.
    That's a war in which Apple will increasingly be just another player as more and more computers and servers are switched over to ARM based processors and leave the world of x86 behind.

    It's analogous to the makers of carriages after the internal combustion engine challenged the horse.   Many fought it and went out of business -- while others welcomed the change and stuck an internal combustion engine in their carriages making "horseless carriages".

    I suspect Intel is looking at all of its options right now.
    InspiredCodecornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 55
    The Intel CEO has the right attitude at least.  Competition means the consumer wins so more power to him.
    kurai_kagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 55
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,637member
    Apple is really the only OEM that can do this. For example, how could HP or Dell make a move like this without Microsoft? They couldn’t. Controlling both the hardware and the operating system makes this possible.


    Then there’s the problem of Intel mocking Apple’s move to its own silicon. Remember, though, that Samsung has a long history of mocking both Apple and its users yet Apple still does business with them. Business is business.
    edited October 18 muthuk_vanalingamTomEqwerty52maltzkurai_kageviclauyycwatto_cobrajony0
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