Why hasn't Apple acquired Intel?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Eldiablojoe, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2009
    West Koast
    Disclaimer: I am not a corporate guru. I am also not an idiot.

    Apple frequently acquires other companies, primarily for future innovation possibilities, and to control their production stream.

    So, that being said, why hasn't Apple acquired Intel to better control the chip delays, which seems to be Apple's albatross as far as production delays go. At least an investment sufficient to obtain 51% control?
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The FTC would block it based on monopoly/competition grounds.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    This is pretty much it and of course the fact that even apple can't afford it.
  4. nStyle macrumors 65816

    Dec 6, 2009
    The answer is obviously that they feel there are higher priorities than acquiring companies. If anything, it would make more sense for them to develop their own chips (which they do for mobile which happens to be their most profitable segment) than to spend billions acquiring a company that is too focused on a world that may eventually be phased out by more powerful iOS devices.
  5. TheIguana macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2004
    I have a hard time believing Apple owning Intel's fab farm would reduce the delays in production of new chips. With modern manufacturing processes for silicon chips we are butting right up against some pretty sizeable challenges in material sciences to keep chips getting smaller (and faster).
  6. madat42 macrumors regular

    Mar 25, 2011
    The funny thing is that even though science is progressing at a faster rate, our expectations are progressing even faster. Being denied instant gratification is a real problem (for some).
  7. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2014
    London, UK
    In all honesty I don't think Apple are too interested in Intel. Apple's own A8X chip for example is only marginally slower than a Sandy Bridge i5 yet uses a fraction of the power. I think for Apple's future roadmap, especially as far as mobile devices are concerned, Apple is far more interested in their own ARM chips and to be perfectly honest I think if Apple could get away with it they'd quite happily make another CPU transition for their desktop OSes.

    I mean let's be honest here - for a machine such as the new MacBook a low powered ARM chip would actually make a lot of sense - still fairly fast but substantially better battery life and low heat output.
  8. Dilster3k macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2014
    Frankfurt, Germany
    Intel is just too big, there's no point taking up their responsibilities either.
  9. vladzaharia macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    Desktop ARM chips won't make sense for a while for one key reason: very, very little is built for the ARM platform. Remember how the switch from PPC to Intel was ridiculously nasty? Having to run Rosetta to use the PPC apps, and that legacy crud staying in for years? Yeah, exact same would be needed for x86/x86_64 -> ARM, and both x86 and x86_64 are a whole lot harder to emulate than PPC.
  10. superlawyer15 macrumors regular


    Sep 15, 2014
    Intel is only worth around $160b ..Apple has more than that in cash reserves, let alone what it can raise by selling stock or issuing bonds.

    Money isn't the issue here, its the anti-trust problem.
  11. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    160B is a lot of money.

    But the main issue is that Apple has never bought a company they couldn't fully swallow. As in is eventually after a transition period only working to produce/manufacture/develop Apple products. Intel has a huge world wide business it would not make sense to just make chips for Macs. Even in Apple's possesion it would be an independent company that would make over 90% of its business outside of Apple. What is the point?
    It is just not good business practice to invest so much outside of core strengh and business goals.

    Apple is no faster at bringing products to market than anybody else. Look how long it took to finally arrive with a watch. They are only good at delivering a good execution at release.
    The issues with 14nm and other semiconductor process would not be quicker resolved just because Apple holds stock.
    If they want certain chips fast they can already ask Intel, who will gladly oblige if Apple pays the price. Lately Apple has just been to cheap to pay high prices. They would save some on the chips if they ownd Intel but since they would just loose that in profits as shareholder, it wouldn't really equate to much.

    What Apple maybe could do is buy someone in the GPU business. They got their own CPUs but GPUs are fairly improtant too. On the otherhand GPU architectures are far more available from different manufacturers with very different architectures. Each architecture a bet of its own. If you can pick and choose why bet on one horse.
    They make a SoC already and the CPU which previously only ARM really supplied not much to choose from one could say. But there are four big GPU suppliers (ARM Mali, Nvidia, Qual. Adreno, Im. PowerVR, someday maybe AMD) You can license three of those (I think Adreno is not up for graps).
    Maybe they grab themselves some modem know how, like Samsung is doing. I think those are bought as seperate chips not licensed to be integrated into the SoC. Samsung wants a better integrated version like Qualcomm has. Don't know if there is anyone to buy that can provide or Samsung wouldn't build up inhouse.

    Anyway my point is "Apple does not do business outside its core products." They swallow companies whole and don't buy a company when the product is more easily bought. If you buy you can choose, if you own you are stuck with what you guys build which might be a bet that does not work out.
    Regardless of money or FTC buying Intel just makes no business sense.
  12. Tobias Funke macrumors 6502a

    Tobias Funke

    Apr 3, 2012
  13. Yakibomb macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2014
    Cape Town
    Random question, what impact would switching to in-house designed chips have on macs? Like will they still be able to run windows? Would developers have to release updates for their apps to run on the new cpu (or run emulated like in X11 or something?
  14. Studflower macrumors member

    Dec 29, 2014
    You can't just purchase any company for its net worth whenever you have the money to afford it...
  15. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2011
    Ridgewood, NJ
    I hear this a lot. What would be he benefit of them owning Intel? I know it's frustrating with the broadwell delay, but it's usually pretty reliable.
  16. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    If they used their ARMv8 cpu.
    Microsoft more or less canceled their ARM Windows. The mobile (phone) version still runs on everything and store apps are platform independent. So technically Windows isn't x86 anymore but it will take time until you can actually make use of a NON x86 notebook/desktop with Windows. Eventually Windows will transform into an OS that does not depend on x86 but that "eventually" is still years out I think. So is a ARMv8 chip powerful enough to supplant Intel though. Such a switch isn't likely in the forseeable (next 2 years) future.
  17. Yakibomb macrumors 6502


    May 13, 2014
    Cape Town
    So basically Apple won't be making a switch before Windows makes the transition in fear of alienating customers that use bootcamp
  18. vladzaharia macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2010
    I mean, not necessarily. Even if Windows had full ARM support (which they seem to want, with the new Continuity mode on their phone which gives a stripped-down version of Windows), all current OSX apps wouldn't work, they're not built for ARM. And, as I said above, emulating x86 or x86_64 is not going to be easy (or even possible right now) on ARM.
  19. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I think they don't they even think about that switch because all they have is a smartphone/tablet cpu and that can't just be scaled to a 15W+ cpu to rival Intel performance.
    I don't think Windows is keeping them in any case. A much bigger problem is OSX. Windows store apps written in C/C++/.net/html5/jscript/xaml can all target different ISAs. There are DirectX supported drivers for every ARM device that wants to run Windows. But on OSX there is non of any of this. The Appstore is completely different from the one for iOS. There is not one SDK for both platforms.
    They could again switch ISA but they got more work ahead of them transitioning OSX than Mircosoft does. Microsoft has basically made all steps and just has to wait for developers to catch up (which they are in no hurry to because it looks like Windows on ARM does not get much hardware support anyway). Developers targeting OSX would be in more of a hurry but still it would take time and Apple hasn't even done their part in OSX yet (which they'd need to do a long time ahead to get enough software support at launch).

    Windows really isn't the problem. It would be one missing feature to not be able to run x86 Windows natively. But it would still be possible to run it in a VM, which very well might be enough for Apple. An ARM Windows will get more useful sooner than ARM OSX in all likelyhood.
  20. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Okay, sanity-time here. Let's assume for a second that Apple were to actually buy Intel. Exactly what would Apple do that would magically put Intel's design roadmap back on schedule? Buying the company wouldn't magically solve the issue.

    And before we laud Apple for having some secret sauce that Intel lacks, let's all remember here that this is the same company people are deriding for poor iOS/OS X performance. Would you rather have late chips that work, or rushed chips that are buggy?
  21. Orr macrumors 6502


    Oct 8, 2013
    Anyone that begins with a disclaimer stating that they are not an idiot is always in my experience...
  22. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    Apple doesn't produce anywhere near enough the scale required for Intel to recognise the savings of economies of scale. Intel ships to pretty much every PC manufacturer in the world. That's how it justifies its expensive R&D, because this fixed cost will be spread out amongst huge volume sales.

    Basically, the costs of owning and managing a company of Intel's scale would far outweigh the benefits.
  23. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Frankly, it would make much more sense for Apple to acquire Nvidia or AMD.
  24. placidity44 macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2015
    Assuming Intel could be bought out, FTC approves the deal, Apple has no interest in parting with 160 billion dollars for little to no benefit on their end. As stated above the A8X is extremely capable and Apple's chips are very state of the art. The A8X scores 4477 on Geekbench 3 multicore score whereas a 2013 MacBook Air with a Core i7 4650U cpu scores 5621. Point being it's hard to compare them but the point i'm trying to get across is Apple is developing some extraordinarily powerful chips not to mention the benefits of controlling hardware and software which they are already doing on their mobile devices. I really don't see what they have to gain by acquiring Intel. It'd be much more hassle than it's worth. I'll bet within the next five years they'll leave Intel for all their MacBooks and maybe even their desktops. They'd have less heat output, more power efficient, optimized, etc. I was surprised that they even acquired Beats for the fact that they're not big on acquisitions. It made more sense after a while because of the HUGE brand name associated with Beats. You see them around everywhere and people love the brand even though they may not be the best sounding headphones. I think it'll benefit them greatly.
  25. z31fanatic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2015
    Mukilteo, WA USA
    Intel are a huge company. Apple couldn't afford to buy them. Microsoft would probably buy Intel before Apple could.

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