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Will Apple and Sharp Soon Have Intel Inside?

Tim Brugger
December 2, 2012

Concern over worldwide PC sales, or lack thereof, continues to plague Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) and its shareholders. Even as non-PC-related revenues improve, Intel stock is mired in a slump that has it flirting with 52-week lows.

The unexpected early retirement of CEO Paul Otellini certainly hasn't helped Intel's share price. But there are a couple of possibilities on Intel's radar that could have long-lasting ramifications and put Otellini's early retirement news on the back burner.

What's happening in Intel's world
According to an analyst at RBC Capital, Intel and iEverything maker Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) are in serious discussions about having Intel take over the chipmaking duties from Samsung, which provides ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH  ) chips for Apple's iPhones and iPads. Apple and Intel watchers have seen this movie before, but according to RBC, this time it's for real, and that includes a few particulars of the potential deal.

It's no secret Apple likes its ARM chips, and one of its closest rivals, Samsung, has been its supplier of choice. But demand could outpace Samsung's ability to supply, as early as next year, and it recently announced a price bump -- all of which gives a bit more credence to the current Intel and Apple discussions. What'll it mean? According to RBC, if the deal goes down, Intel could see as much as $2 billion in Apple-related revenue next year, not to mention making major strides into the mobile computing space -- a sandbox Intel has made clear it wants to play in.

Intel's been mentioned in the same breath as beleaguered, Japanese-based Sharp for some time now. As recently as two weeks ago, the rumors were that Intel and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) , one of its primary competitors in the mobile chip space, were going to team up and acquire a healthy stake in Sharp. Qualcomm is still in the Sharp investment picture, but it's no longer interested in a major stake.

Now, here we are two weeks later, and Sharp is courting Intel and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL