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Skylake poor quality assurance was reason for Intel Apple split, insider claims
By Neil Soutter on June 27th, 2020 at 03:00pm - original article from game-debate

Apple recently made headlines by officially confirming that they are splitting from Intel’s partnership and transitioning to their own custom ARM-based processors for Macbooks. It was quite the surprise, even though rumors of the split have been bubbling for a while, but a former Intel employee has claimed that the split was a result of poor quality assurance for Skylake by Intel.

It was announced that Apple would be transition to their own custom Apple silicon in order to consolidate the architectures across each of their devices, like iPhone, iPad, Macbooks etc. which will make developing apps and software a lot easier. And whilst this definitely makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, former Intel principal engineer, Francois Piednoel, has other ideas.

According to him, Apple’s decision to ditch Intel was due to “abnormally bad” quality assurance by Intel on the Skylake processors: “The quality assurance of Skylake was more than a problem,” he said. Apparently Apple then became the “number one filer of problems in the architecture.” Yikes.

When your customer starts finding almost as much bugs as you found yourself, you're not leading into the right place.

It seems like this was the turning point, or the straw that broke the camel’s back, as Piednoel stated that this must have been “the inflection point” for Apple. “This is where the Apple guys who were always contemplating to switch, they went and looked at it and said: 'Well, we've probably got to do it.' Basically the bad quality assurance of Skylake is responsible for them to actually go away from the platform.

It’s also entirely possible that this was just 1 of many considerations for Apple as for the reason to switch. It’s not entirely uncommon for customers like Apple to report bugs found on hardware by Intel, AMD, or even ARM silicon. 

Of course, Piednoel is a former employee of Intel, and so his opinion can’t be regarded as fact. But it’s certainly an interesting view to think about, especially with Intel starting to get worried about the competition from AMD, it would certainly be interesting as well to see how Intel recovers, if they even need to.

Nevertheless, Apple’s transition is said to take 2 years, and so from now until then they will still support computers with Intel’s CPUs.

What do you think? Could bad quality assurance be the main reason for the Apple/Intel split? Or was it just 1 of many considerations? And what could this mean for Intel? Let us know your thoughts!