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Intel Not Inside: How Mobile Chips Overtook the Semiconductor Giant

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Apples new M1 computer chip for its Macs was designed in-house.

Apple Inc. recently declared an end to its use of Intel chips in Macs, preferring processors of its own design.

Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

Intel Corp. INTC 0.39% , once the dominant designer and manufacturer of microchips at the core of nearly all personal and cloud computing, has for years been losing ground to competitors. Hardly a ragtag bunch, the opposition now includes trillion-dollar companies alongside countless startups, and it's well on its way to wrecking Intel's hegemony.

Apple Inc. recently declared an end to its use of Intel chips in Macs, which it adopted in 2006, and a switch to processors of its own design. With less fanfare, longtime Intel partner Microsoft Corp. put a custom chip in its Surface Pro X tablet PC, as an alternative to models running Intel's chips. Google is already using chips from Qualcomm Inc. QCOM 1.41% in its Pixel phone and others from Intel in its Chromebooks, and appears to be working on its own custom processors for both sorts of devices. Samsung Electronics Co. , meanwhile, has been designing its own chips for 20 years, though it continues to work with both Intel and Qualcomm.


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