Intel has to be better than ‘lifestyle company’ Apple at making CPUs, says new CEO
Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, doesn’t start his new role until February, but he’s already prepping the company to take on Apple’s M1 chips. The Oregonian, a local newspaper in Oregon where Intel maintains a large presence, reports that the chip maker held an all-hands company meeting yesterday, and Gelsinger attended.
“We have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino” makes, Gelsinger reportedly told Intel employees. “We have to be that good, in the future.”
Intel has been facing increased competition from both Apple and AMD recently. Apple announced its transition to its own silicon back in June, calling it a “historic day for the Mac.” The transition has gone well, with M1-based Macs providing impressive performance and battery life compared to existing Intel-based Macs.
While Apple will still use Intel chips for some Macs in the future, the move away from reliance on Intel is significant. It comes just as AMD has taken the performance crown from Intel in gaming, and pressures its laptop dominance with new Ryzen 5000 mobile chips.
Intel announced earlier this week that current CEO Bob Swan is stepping down from the position on February 15th, set to be replaced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. This marks a return to Intel for Gelsinger, who previously worked at the chip maker for 30 years.
Gelsinger now faces the reality of competing with Apple, AMD, and others after Intel has struggled to transition to a 10nm manufacturing process for years. Intel has also delayed its 7nm chips until at least 2022, and the company now faces a tough decision whether to outsource chip fabrication.
That’s a decision that Intel had scheduled to make next week, but The Oregonian reports it could be delayed to give Gelsinger time to weigh in on the choice. Bloomberg News recently reported that Intel has been in talks with both TSMC and Samsung to outsource some chip production. Market research firm TrendForce claims around 20 percent of Intel’s non-CPU chips will now be outsourced to both TSMC and UMC.
Analysts argue that outsourcing its own CPU production would allow Intel to be more flexible and focus on its designs to recover from the 10nm issues it has experienced. Apple, AMD, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and other Intel competitors are already using TSMC for chip production.