Intel has dominated practically every processor market for over a decade, with the mobile chipset segment the main exception. AMD, and now Apple, are squeezing Intel in key sectors though, with the latter moving its product stack away from Intel to in-house silicon. Microsoft supposedly plans to do the same beyond its SQ series of custom ARM chipsets, but the SQ1 and SQ2 have not shown up Intel in the way Apple has with the M1.
According to a report by The Oregonian, Intel’s future CEO, Pat Gelsinger, is particularly unhappy with how the chipmaker has fallen behind Apple. Quoted by The Oregonian and The Verge, Gelsinger remarked:
We have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino makes…We have to be that good, in the future.
Calling a former partner a lifestyle company is below the belt, in our opinion, even if Gelsinger has a point. Intel certainly has plenty of work to do before it catches the sophistication of TSMC, which Apple, AMD and Qualcomm, among others, use to fabricate their chips.
Intel is yet to switch to a 7 nm manufacturing process, for example, but it may outsource the production of Core i3 chips to TSMC to reach 5 nm before the end of 2021. Sourcing nodes from TSMC may help Intel produce processors on 3 nm processes by the second half of 2022, too. Nonetheless, it seems that real competition may finally spur Intel into action, which should benefit consumers in the long run.