Intel has always been ahead of the curve on chip manufacturing, introducing new and finer fabrication processes sometimes years before the competition. So, what if the company allowed ARM-license-toting competitors to make their chips in its fabs?
As Forbes reports, that's the eyebrow-raising suggestion Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made earlier this week. Huang said Intel should make ARM-based system-on-a-chip devices for the likes of Apple, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments... as well as Nvidia, of course:
“Why not be a foundry for all the mobile companies?” Huang told a group of reporters Wednesday evening. “There’s no shame in that.”
In response, Intel told Forbes that it does have a "small nascent foundry business." However, the company added, "Our process technology is a huge advantage going forward in 2012 and 2013, so our focus at this time is on building Intel products, not on building products for our competitors."
Intel does have a nascent foundry business. News got out last month that Intel will be opening up its 22-nm fab process to an FPGA design called Tabula. However, Intel told the Wall Street Journal at the time that its "main motivation for entering the foundry business is learning attributes of other kinds of chips that could serve its own interests."