Today, is Paul Otellini’s last day as CEO of Intel, a company he has helmed since 2005 and in an extensive profile by TheAtlantic he revealed that an Intel chip could have been in original iPhone. It was revealed that Otellini personally decided against a deal that would have ensured an Intel chip inside the iPhone. The iPhone was the device that really kickstarted the modern mobile revolution and Intel’s travails in the mobile space have been well documented in a post iPhone world. Also Read - Intel launches 12th Gen Alder Lake chips: Core i9-12900K claimed to be world’s best gaming processor
The report says that “We ended up not winning it or passing on it depending how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we’d done it.”
He spoke about underestimating the volume of chips that would be used as before the iPhone no one really knew about the possibilities. He admitted that Apple was interested in a certain chip, but they were on a certain budget and did not want to pay more. For Intel, this was a matter of making the bet and making the money on the volume, but Intel could not see how it would have been able to make a profit on it.
Otellini went on to admit that “in hindsight” the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100 times of what anyone had imagined.
This sentiment was also reflected by the Reuters in 2007, a day after the iPhone was announced, but that story was withdrawn and later in the year Intel claimed that its ‘Silverthorne” chip was the one Apple was interested in.
All this is yet a bit questionable considering even Intel admitted in 2008, that Silverthorne was not competitive enough against an ARM chip in terms of battery life.
Perhaps, Apple could simply used Intel to build ARM chips. It should be noted that back then Intel had an ARM based chipset business called X-Scale, which was later sold of to Marvell. Currently, Apple uses Samsung to manufacture its processors for the iPhone and the iPad.
The chipset maker is still struggling to make it in the mobile market, but in the last year the company has made some strides in the space with its new Atom chips offering a good power/performance ratio. Of course, still no major OEM has shipped a phone running an Intel chip except for the Motorola Razr I, which was a UK only model.
In fact the company had to bring in Michael Bell to head its mobility division from Apple, and all the progress in the mobile space has come under his charge.
Apart from the company’s problems in the mobile space, the company has grown under Otellini and the company has heralded new technologies like the tri-gate 3D transistor technology.
After 40 years at Intel Paul Otellini will say goodbye to the chipset giant and from tomorrow onwards Brian Krzanich will be in-charge as CEO.