Intel Might Make Chips Based on Non-Intel Cores

Intel would consider making silicon for rivals, saying that any proposal to use its manufacturing capacity to make chips based on a non-Intel processor core would trigger an "in-depth discussion."

"There are certain customers that would be interesting to us and certain customers that wouldn't," Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith told journalists after an investor event in London on Thursday.

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

"Then you get into the middle ground of 'I don't want it to be a IA core, I want it to be my own custom designed core,' and then you are only getting the manufacturing margin, (and) that would be a much more in-depth discussion and analysis."

Intel's proprietary architecture defines the instruction set for the family of microprocessors installed in the vast majority of personal computers in the world.

The U.S.-based company's manufacturing technology is far ahead of other chipmakers', and earlier this month it took the wraps off a new "3D" technology that it said would offer higher performance and consume less energy.

However, it has been left trailing in the smartphone and tablet sector, where British chip designer ARM's architecture dominates. Apple's iPad tablet computer is powered by an ARM-based processor made by Samsung, according to reports.

Smith said, however, that such a proposal was "not in the works today," and the prospect of making chips for others was not driving Intel's investment in capacity.