Intel CEO passed on the opportunity to power the original iPhone

By on May 17, 2013, 2:00 PM
apple, iphone, intel, intel ceo, silicon, paul otellini

Outgoing Intel CEO Paul Otellini recently revealed a missed opportunity that could have drastically altered the company’s prospects for the better. During a recent interview with The Atlantic, Otellini said he passed up on an opportunity to have Intel silicon inside the original iPhone. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20 / 20.

Otellini said there was a chip that Apple was interested in and they wanted to pay a certain price for it – not a nickel more. At the end of the day, the price was below Intel’s forecasted cost and it wasn’t something they could make up on volume. As such, Intel ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it.

Of course, this was all well before the first iPhone launched so nobody knew the impact it would have on the mobile phone industry at the time. Apple ultimately went with an ARM-based chip and well, the rest is history.

To make matters even worse, Otellini said the forecasted cost of the chip Apple was interested in was wrong and the volume ended up being 100x what anyone thought. He told the publication his gut instinct was to say yes but the data at the time suggested otherwise. As you could imagine, the executive expressed visible remorse when telling the story.

Who knows how different the iPhone would have been with an Intel chip inside but one thing is for sure: Intel’s bottom line would certainly look better today.




User Comments: 8

Got something to say? Post a comment
2 people like this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

"Intel's bottom line would certainly look better today". Certainly nothing wrong with the way it looks now.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Haha! Bummer!

captainawesome captainawesome said:

True @Skidmarks and I think the consumer is honestly the better for it - we need competition and seeing as Intel are not challenged on the desktop and server front - they certainly are elsewhere. Whether its embedded chips or mobile they atleast have plenty to compete with. Imagine if Intel did own that contract? ARM would not be able to compete with intel today (in my rough guess) and we would have a shoddier market diversity because of it

Denxnis Denxnis said:

True @Skidmarks and I think the consumer is honestly the better for it - we need competition and seeing as Intel are not challenged on the desktop and server front - they certainly are elsewhere. Whether its embedded chips or mobile they atleast have plenty to compete with. Imagine if Intel did own that contract? ARM would not be able to compete with intel today (in my rough guess) and we would have a shoddier market diversity because of it

I think Intel is a great company. The fact that they don't triumph in every sector if silicon production is a good thing for everyone, Intel included.

Additionally people who say the PC is dead are kidding themselves, yes PC purchases are in decline but how many people actually do serious work on a tablet/phone?

JC713 JC713 said:

I think this was a good decision. Intel would be a monopoly now if this decision wasnt made.

Guest said:

Additionally people who say the PC is dead are kidding themselves, yes PC purchases are in decline but how many people actually do serious work on a tablet/phone?

How many people do serious work, period, though? The PC is certainly headed to being a specialised platform for businesses, professionals, content-creators, enthusiasts, etc. (as it was in the early to mid-90's prior to Windows and mainstream web) with the vast majority of people being content with content-consumption and basic productivity provided for by tablets/hybrids, smartphones and whatever other new form-factors develop.

danhodge danhodge said:

Wait, this isn't new is it? I'm pretty sure this was mentioned in the Steve Jobs autobiography...

Fbarnett Fbarnett said:

Maybe it a good thing the Iphone would cost like a $100.00 more if they used Intel

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.