While it has been muttered about behind closed doors, it seems that the war between Chipzilla and Jobs’ Mob has just come into the open.
It was all fairly harmless. The advert from last year identified the competitor to its Zenbook Ultrabook as a “Fruit Brand.”
Then there was Taiwan Semiconductor’s chairman – the father of foundries – Morris Chang who spoke about Intel’s Ultrabook war on the MacBook Air as “Intel is competing directly with TSMC’s customers while standing behind a veil.”
ZD Net speculates that since Intel is paying subsidies to all non-Apple computer manufacturers to make what it calls “underpriced MacBook Air clones” Chang must have been referring to Intel and Apple slugging it out.
Of course calling an Ultrabook “an underpriced MacBook Air” does sort of reveal whose side of the war ZD Net is on. You could equally have referred to a MacBook Air as an overpriced Ultrabook.
Nevertheless Chang has pledged his support to “stand behind” its customers on the battlefield against Intel.
Apple has responded by publicly asking Asus to stop making MacBook Air clones, so it looks like the war is on.
However, if a war has started it seems that Intel at least is keen to pretend that it hasn’t. Intel’s Bill Calder said that that there have been no Ultrabook ‘subsidies.’ What it has been doing is offering co-marketing funds to its customers.
He said that these funds are not “subsidies”, nor are they anti-competitive and anyway the $300m Ultrabook Fund is focused solely on infrastructure investments to drive down component costs, and none of those funds go directly to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) or ODMs (original design manufacturers).
The only cash provided to computer manufacturers related to Ultrabooks are solely intended to raise consumer awareness and stimulate demand.
He said Intel loves Apple and really did not care when it tested AMD chips for its MacBook Air.
Apple, of course, has said nothing. It still seems to think that the world is going to forget all about PCs and go to tablets. It does not seem particularly interested in its Air range, and anyway with Intel pushing cheaper Ultrabooks it could find that the Air is simply too expensive to interest the punters.