Intel’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger won’t begin his new role until February, but he’s already gearing the company up to take on Apple’s M1 chips. The Oregonian, a local newspaper in Oregon where Intel maintains a strong presence, reports that the chipmaker held a All-People meeting yesterday, at which Gelsinger was in attendance.
“We need to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than anything possible that a lifestyle company in Cupertino,” Gelsinger reportedly told employees of Intel. “We have to be just as good in the future.”
Intel has recently faced increased competition from Apple and AMD. Apple announced its transition to its own silicon in June, calling it “a historic day for the Mac.” The transition went smoothly, with M1-based Macs offering impressive performance and battery life compared to existing Intel-based Macs.
While Apple will still use Intel chips for some Macs in the future, moving away from Intel dependency is significant. It comes just as AMD has taken the performance crown from Intel in gaming and is emphasizing its dominance of laptops with the new Ryzen 5000 mobile chips.
Intel announced earlier this week that current CEO Bob Swan will step down on February 15, to be replaced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. This marks a return to Intel for Gelsinger, who previously worked at the chipmaker for 30 years.
Gelsinger now faces the reality of competing with Apple, AMD and others after Intel struggled to switch to a 10nm manufacturing process for years. Intel has also delayed its 7nm chips to at least 2022, and the company now faces a tough decision to outsource chip manufacturing.
It’s a decision Intel had planned to make next week, but The Oregonian reports it could be delayed to give Gelsinger time to weigh in on the choice. Bloomberg News recently reported that Intel was in talks with TSMC and Samsung to outsource some of the chip production. Market research firm TrendForce says about 20% of Intel’s processor-less chips will now be outsourced to both TSMC and UMC.
Analysts say outsourcing its own production of processors would allow Intel to be more flexible and focus on its designs to recover from the 10nm issues it encountered. Apple, AMD, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and other Intel competitors already use TSMC for chip production.