Intel CEO Paul Otellini is stepping down today, and The Atlantic has published a lengthy profile of the outgoing CEO. While the article mostly argues that Intel thrived under Otellini's watch, it also reveals what could have been: Otellini told the publication that he personally shot down a chance to put Intel processors in the original Apple iPhone.
He tells The Atlantic, with regret:
"We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we'd done it," Otellini told me in a two-hour conversation during his last month at Intel. "The thing you have to remember is that this was before the iPhone was introduced and no one knew what the iPhone would do... At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn't see it. It wasn't one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought."
"My gut told me to say yes," Otellini added.
I personally believe Intel needs to get into the foundry business asap. With Intel's chips still (6 years later) not being able to compete with ARM's power and battery efficient designs and all future growth coming from mobile and tablets (an area where ARM excels), they need to start utilizing their fabs to make chips for others to see growth in the longer term.
This post was edited on 5/16 at 9:13 pm