Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn’t given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.
- In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.
Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer but picked up a new rival.
The big picture: Intel has had a tough enough time keeping up with smaller rival AMD in recent years. With Apple as a competitor, Intel now has to compete against a chip design that has proved itself both powerful and power efficient.
Catch-up quick: Apple, which has been using Intel chips to power the Mac since 2005, is in the midst of shifting its entire computer line to run on Apple-designed processors similar to the ones used for the iPhone and iPad.
What they’re saying: Gelsinger, who returned to Intel as CEO earlier this year, doesn’t fault the Mac maker for its decision.
- “Apple decided they could do a better chip themselves than we could,” Gelsinger said during an interview for “Axios on HBO.”
- “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, as well as many other pieces of business, over time.”
Yes, but: Gelsinger knows that another chance, if it ever comes, is years off.
- “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,” Gelsinger said. “So I’m gonna fight hard to win Tim’s business in this area.”
- Gelsinger pointed to the work Intel is doing with Microsoft to bring Android apps to Windows 11 as an example of one of the ways it is trying to make the PC more attractive.
Between the lines: Another option, which could be easier than convincing Apple to abandon its own chip designs, is to convince the company to use Intel’s manufacturing. Thus far, Apple has used Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to produce its processors.
- Gelsinger notes that Amazon, Qualcomm and the Department of Defense are already signed up to have Intel manufacture some of their chips.
- “Those aren’t bad brands,” Gelsinger told me. “So I’m pretty pleased with the progress that we’re making there. And I’d hope to add a few more brands to that list that, you know, might include them [Apple].”