Today is probably the crack of relationships, when both Apple and Microsoft have expressed their willingness to part with Intel. Apple invited ARM chip architects to work to raise the ambition of making chips for Mac computers, Microsoft said it could switch to using AMD chips on the next Surface generation.
The king of computer chips is getting worse
Intel has dominated the computer chip market since the launch of the first commercial microprocessor in 1971. But now many things have changed, the market for PCs has weakened, making demand Computer chip demand also declined. Smartphone waves rose, but Intel did not catch up and was left behind. Opponent AMD creates increasing competition pressure.
Not only are objective reasons, but the decline of Intel is due to subjective reasons. It is difficult to research and run Intel's processor chip technology. The new generation of processors based on Intel's 10nm architecture is expected to be released in late 2016. But eventually it will be released later this year.
The insurmountable difficulties in reducing the size and increasing the number of transistors, can make Moore's Law no longer valid. But meanwhile, AMD has released the first 7nm chips. Mobile chip manufacturers like TSMC have started talking about 2nm architecture.
Not only that, Intel's new efforts to expand its business, especially targeting the smartphone chip market, have completely failed. Thanks to Apple's support, Intel began researching and manufacturing modem chips for smartphones. However, Intel modem chips have never been rated as competitive with Qualcomm.
After reconciling with Qualcomm, Apple also gave up efforts to cooperate with Intel to develop 5G modem chips. As a result, Intel had to shut down the entire business, recently selling all the relevant technology patents.
Apple and Microsoft have their own plans
Apple has always had a big ambition, which is to produce its own chips to be able to best synchronize with hardware devices. That has become a reality for mobile devices like the iPhone or iPad, but Apple still can't produce chips for Mac computers.
However, at the present time, technology has been booming, mobile processors based on ARM architecture are becoming more powerful and can replace personal computer chips.
Apple also hired ARM's chief chip architect to show his desire to produce chips based on ARM mobile architecture to equip Mac computers. When this ambition becomes reality, of course Intel will be abandoned again.
The software giant Microsoft wants to switch to using AMD chips on the next generation of Surface. AMD chips are manufactured on a completely new 7nm process, not only more powerful but also more energy efficient.
Microsoft also aspires to use ARM mobile chips. It seems the trend of using mobile chips on laptops is beginning to emerge, replacing the traditional computer processors. Meanwhile, Intel is increasingly pushed away from this new trend.
Intel frantically burned money to solve difficulties and find success
Having many difficulties and no way to solve it, Intel embarked on the battle of burning money. From acquiring companies and chip manufacturers, to investing capital and developing new technologies.
In 2015, Intel acquired Altera, which specializes in server chips, for $ 16.7 billion. By 2017, the Company again acquired Mobileye, a manufacturer of unmanned computer vision cars, for $ 15.3 billion.
Internally, Intel poured capital into everything from photonics (using light to convey information between chips) to Optane, a new caching technology that makes computing faster and more stable. . Intel is even developing its own GPU chip.
Of course, it is impossible not to mention the effort to develop and produce modem chips for smartphones. Pierre Ferragu, an analyst at New Street Research, calculated that Intel has spent $ 19 billion since 2012 to enter the smartphone chip market, which has been dominated by Qualcomm. And finally get bitter defeat.
Intel can still live well by producing chips for computers and servers, data centers. Internet services are growing, cloud computing is growing, which is a good opportunity to sell server and data center processing chips. But it is clear that Intel is increasingly losing its No. 1 position.