Intel reportedly signs biggest foundry customer yet: Cisco

Ahead of the quarterly earnings announcement this afternoon, Intel has reportedly signed the biggest customer yet for its growing foundry business.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Intel's venture into operating a foundry business unit might be off to a solid start, based on a new report.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the hardware giant has inked a deal with Cisco, which would be Intel's biggest customer yet for made-to-order chips.

Basically, Cisco would design the chips for its networking products while Intel would be responsible for actually manufacturing them.

Reports and rumors about the chip maker's interest in a foundry business have been around for awhile now.

Back in December, Intel CEO Paul Otellini commented that the company would be open to being a foundry for a strategic partner -- at least one that isn't a competitor.

Speaking during the Sanford Bernstein investor conference that month, Otellini didn't name any names, but he seemed to shy away from listing Samsung as a potential client while remaining mum about Apple.

Yet in this case, it looks like Cisco would fit the bill.

Neither Intel nor Cisco have commented publicly on the new report yet, and Bloomberg cited a pair of unnamed "people with knowledge of the matter" as its sources for the story.

We could hear more about this potential development this afternoon as Intel will be reporting fourth quarter earnings after the bell, followed by a conference call at 2:00PM PT/5:00PM ET.

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