Apple's M1 processor spotlights Intel's chip challenges

From CNET: Apple's custom-built M1 processor and the new MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros and Mac Minis that use it are a problem for Intel. The divorce proceedings will last about two years as the prestigious customer gradually ejects Intel's chips from its personal computers.

But Intel isn't doomed.

The Santa Clara, California, company has some advantages and options in the PC market that insulate it from Apple's threat. Other PC makers aren't going to have as easy a time as Apple in moving past Intel. Intel is still the leader in higher-end chips more powerful than the M1. And it's got enough money on hand -- $18.25 billion in cash, equivalents and investments -- to let it spend its way to a better situation.

"There isn't much near-term threat to Intel's PC business beyond losing one sizable customer," said Linley Group analyst Linley Gwennap. That doesn't mean it's going to be easy for Intel, though.

Giving Apple grounds for divorce is the latest of the chipmaker's whiffs. Earlier achievements, like charting decades of steady chip industry progress with Moore's Law, pioneering PC technology standards and powering Google's data centers, have been overshadowed by newer flubs. That includes losing its manufacturing lead and failing to tap into the smartphone market. Intel ultimately sold its cellular chip business to Apple for $1 billion.

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