Intel is considering outsourcing some of its chip production to Apple supplier TSMC, but is currently holding out in hopes that its own manufacturing capabilities improve.
Successive delays in the company’s chip fabrication processes have spurred it to look at outsourcing options. Intel CEO Bob Swan had previously told investors that he will announce the company’s plans for outsourcing and getting production back on track at the chipmaker’s earnings call on Jan. 21.
But, according to a Bloomberg report Friday, Intel has yet to make a final decision about outsourcing less than two weeks ahead of that announcement.
Any chips or other components that Intel would source from TSMC wouldn’t arrive on the market until 2023 at the earliest. Those chips would also be based on existing manufacturing processes used by other TSMC customers.
According to Bloomberg, TSMC is preparing to offer Intel chip making capabilities based on a 4-nanometer process with initial testing using a 5-nanometer process.
Intel is also reportedly in talks with Samsung, though those discussions are reportedly at a much more preliminary stage.
Although one of the world’s best-known chipmakers, Intel has suffered years-long delays that have caused it to lag behind rivals in the industry. Some of those rivals design their own chips but outsource fabrication to TSMC.
News of the potential outsourcing also comes amid Apple’s own transition from Intel processors to proprietary Apple Silicon in its Mac devices.
Alongside with investor concerns about Intel’s stagnation, CEO of hedge fund Third Point, Daniel Loeb, in December urged the chipmaker to take strategic action in the face of its declines.
This isn’t the first time that Intel has tapped TSMC for chip fabrication. Back in 2018, Intel outsourced some of its 14-nanometer chip production because of high demand and manufacturing issues.
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