SAN FRANCISCO Dec 6 Intel's outgoing
chief executive, Paul Otellini, said he expected to be replaced
by a company insider and also signaled that the top chipmaker
could open its factories to strategic customers.
Otellini's comments at a Sanford Bernstein investor
conference on Wednesday stoked speculation the top chipmaker may
manufacture mobile chips for Apple and pushed Intel's
shares higher on Thursday morning.
"For the right types of products and not to enable my
competitors, I would certainly consider it. There's a lot of
stuff in the pipeline," Otellini said, according to a Thomson
"As you know it takes a while to move your designs over, to
design them under our process, for us to be able to bring them
in-house and so forth and our foundry customers aren't going to
announce that they've moved until they've moved because it would
hurt them at their current suppliers, Otellini said.
RBC analyst Doug Freedman said Otellini's comments about the
possibility of open Intel's plants to customers were more direct
than previous ones.
Apple currently depends on Samsung Electronics
to manufacture its mobile chips but the two companies are in a
war over patents and also compete in smarpthones and tablets.
Apple is believed to be looking for alternative suppliers.
Intel raised eyebrows on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley
in November when it said it will consider an outsider to take
over after Otellini unexpectedly announced he will retire in
May, potentially ending a four-decade tradition of internal
Some analysts took that as a sign that Intel, which has
struggled to jump from the personal computer market to mobile,
might be considering a transformative hire. But Otellini he
expects the board to choose from among the chipmaker's own
"It's not up to me but I think that's the most likely
outcome. I'm very comfortable with the internal candidates and
the track record of internal versus external in our industry
shows pretty clearly you want to stay inside if you can,"
While the idea of an iconic visionary stepping in to lift
Intel into the mobile market - its Achilles heel - may sound
attractive, it could open the chipmaker to new risks should it
waver from its traditional focus on hard-core manufacturing.
"Even if you brought in Mr. or Ms. Perfect, that person is
going to take whatever it is, two years to figure out the
culture and the people and how systems work and stuff like
that," Otellini said.
"In this environment, why take the risk and take the time?
So I think they will stay inside."
Shares of Intel rose 1.66 percent to $20.17.