Intel Offers Apple Custom Chips -- But Not ARM

Intel would be happy to make custom chips for Apple, according to the company's chief financial officer.

Reuters reports that Intel's Stacey Smith made the comments to investors but added that the company would only want to build chips based on its own architecture.

Smith said: "If Apple or Sony came to us and said 'I want to do a product that involves your Intel architecture core and put some of my intellectual property around it,' I wouldn't blink. That would be fantastic business for us."

He didn't rule out building chips based on rival architecture but said it would be a "tough decision" to do so. However, Intel's manufacturing know-how would still give the company a competitive edge, no matter which architecture the chips it was making were built on.

Building chip manufacturing plants is an expensive business, so it's offer to build custom chips would make economic sense for device makers, though Smith said that Intel would only make a small "manufacturing margin" if this were to happen.

Analysis: Intel may have a fight unseating ARM chips

Intel has been providing processors to Apple since 2006 for its desktop and laptop ranges. However, Apple isn't exclusively using Intel chips -- Samsung currently builds some of Apple's processors, such as the iPad 2's A5 chip, which is based on ARM architecture.

There has been speculation that Apple was considering dumping Intel processors from its laptop lines in favour of processors based on ARM architecture, though analysts have dismissed this idea saying it wouldn't be practical over the next few years because of technical and performance issues.

Smith did make clear that his comments were not related to any such request from Apple or any other company to build custom chips.

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