Intel wants Apple back! The chipmaker hopes to make a return to MacBooks

Apple demanded a divorce from Intel after the Cupertino-based tech giant was fed up with the hindrances Intel imposed on its MacBooks. Intel — and the tech industry at large — wasn’t prepared for Apple’s post-divorce glow-up after it introduced the ultra-powerful, ARM-based M1 chip last year.

Apple’s new in-house processor knocked Intel off its feet. Now the chipmaker is showing up at Apple’s door and begging for a second chance. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of Player’s “Baby Come Back” playing from Intel’s boombox as it attempts to serenade Apple back into a business relationship.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger announced that the chipmaker is launching an Intel Foundry Services (IFS) division, a standalone business arm that will manufacture x86, ARM and RISC-V core chips for external clients. As CNBC puts it, IFS will serve as a manufacturing partner for other chip companies that focus on semiconductor design, but “need a company to actually make the chips.”

IFS will offer a U.S. and Europe-based alternative to Asian SoC factories — a benefit that rivals like TSMC don’t have. Intel plans to spend $20 billion to build two chip plants in Arizona. IFS, so far, has already partnered with IBM, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Google and more. Now, Intel has its sights on Apple.

In an interview with BBC, Gelsinger admitted that Intel hopes to regain Apple as a client for IFS. Apple heavily relies on TSMC for its chips, which Gelsinger insinuates is bad for business: “Having 80% of all supply in Asia simply isn’t a palatable manner for the world to have its view of the most critical technology.”

The BBC then asked Gelsinger a question that addresses the pink elephant in the room: “Is it wise to be running a high-profile ad campaign mocking [Apple’s] computers at the same time as saying we’d like to be your partner again?” Last week, we reported that Intel fired shots at Apple by launching several ads that throw MacBooks under the bus.

Gelsinger’s response? Intel is a fierce rival and it will fight to maintain its share of the laptop market, but that doesn’t mean it does not hold Apple in high regard. “We have great respect for Apple as a company. They’ve done incredible things in the industry. Tim Cook is a great leader. At the same time, we’re going to be aggressive competitors and we’re out to reinvigorate the PC ecosystem,” Gelsinger said.

The BBC described Apple as “thin-skinned” in the interview, implying that the company may not be on board with another partnership with Intel after the stunts it has pulled. In my opinion, this was a more tactful way of calling Apple “petty.” That being said, the chipmaker shouldn’t hold its breath for an Apple comeback.

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