Intel Tries to Join Apple Among Innovator Ranks

Here's another example of the fact that truly-significant innovation sometimes comes from the largest and most-influential firms, not from upstart firms. Apple is probably the best-known and most-apt example. Google once was an upstart, but these days is a deep-pocketed incumbent.

Now Intel appears to be preparing a ferocious assault on the underlying chip-level technologies that will power the next generation of mobile-based Internet and computing.

"The going rate for a state-of-the-art chip factory is about $3 billion," the New York Times reports. And those are just table stakes. Predicting a "bloody" war, the Times points out that, in this next phase, the manufacturers will be fighting to supply the silicon for one of the fastest-growing segments of computing: smartphones, tiny laptops and tablet-style devices.

The fight pits several big chip companies against Intel, and the winner or winners will be assured a significant place in the emerging mobile computing ecosystem, which most observers predict is the next era of computing to come.

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