Intel chief visits Korea in a bid to woo Samsung boss JK Shin

Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich is reportedly flying out to South Korea during December for high-level talks with senior Samsung executives, including Samsung Mobile chief executive JK Shin.

The two companies have a complex relationship in the marketplace, with Intel the world’s largest chip maker by volume according to most estimates, while Samsung is the second largest.

Intel is best known for designing the x86 processors found in most PCs and is attempting to gain headway in the smartphone and tablet processor market, while Samsung predominantly manufactures processors for smartphones and tablets based on designs from British mobile processor design firm ARM.

ARM also licences its designs to a range of chip design companies, including NVidia and Qualcomm.

Aside from manufacturing their own chips, both also manufacture chips on behalf of third parties, with Samsung foundries manufacturing iPhone CPUs for Apple, and Intel has recently announcing it is opening up its facilities to ARM chip design firm Altera. Both also compete against foundries owned by TSMC, UMC, GlobalFoundries and IBM.

At the same time, Intel is a partner in Tizen, a smartphone and smart TV operating system Samsung is developing as an alternative to Google Android.

According to a source quoted by the Korea Times, the meeting will reportedly examine the possibility of Samsung manufacturing some its chips in Intel foundries.

“Because Samsung is very interested in strengthening its logic chip-making business, the latest decision by Intel to open up its factories to any company will be more than welcomed. Intel may manufacture Samsung logic chips on a contract basis, and Samsung will access Intel’s confidential data for chips, which is a win-win strategy for both.”

The Korea Times also quotes an official from rival South Korean conglomerate, or chaebol, LG, saying it has also secured meetings with the Intel boss.

“Considering LG’s increased focus on strengthening its vehicle-component business, Intel plans to provide know-how in chips, while LG will partner for Atom processors to be used in car infotainment systems for upcoming electric vehicles.”

An Intel veteran, Brian Krzanich took over as Intel’s chief executive in May alongside Renée James as its new president, despite market calls for an outside candidate, amid turbulent times in the PC industry.

His predecessor, Paul Otellini, stood down after warning investors he anticipated its quarterly revenue could drop by as much as 8% year-on-year as PC sales plummet.


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