Intel takes big step in foundry business
Intel will make Altera's programmable chips using its upcoming 14 nanometer trigate transistor technology, the most significant agreement of its kind announced so far by the world's top chipmaker.
"It's a step in terms of building into a business level we wish to achieve," Sunit Rikhi, Vice President and General Manager of Intel custom foundry, told Reuters on Monday. "There's no doubt in my mind the foundry will be a significant player in the future."
Building new generations of chip manufacturing plants is becoming more and more expensive, and to help offset the cost, Intel has said in the past it was willing to open its facilities to strategic customers - as long as doing so does not its help competitors.
Intel has announced agreements to manufacture on behalf of Achronix Semiconductor Corp and other small chipmakers but Monday's announcement with Altera is the most significant so far.
With Intel struggling to find its footing in smarpthones and tablets with its own processor designs, some investors believe Intel may eventually agree to make Apple's processors for the iPhone and iPad.
"If and when we are called upon to serve large mobile customers who can drive a lot more volume, we could serve them today in terms of capability," Rikhi said. "I'm confident we have a very strong platform of offering upon which we can scale."
He declined to