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Intel Admits Execs' iPhone Bashing Was 'Inappropriate'

Comments after a keynote at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei generated enough heat for Intel to take the unusual step of acknowledging the weaknesses of its low-power Atom processor.
Intel has issued an apology of sorts for executives' recent comments on the Web-browsing shortcomings of the Apple iPhone, which they claimed suffered from the use of an ARM processor instead of an Intel chip.

The iPhone bashing on Wednesday that followed a keynote at the Intel Developer Forum in Taipei apparently generated enough heat for Intel to take the unusual step of acknowledging the weaknesses of its low-power Atom processor, which competes with ARM for the dollars of manufacturers of mobile devices. Apple is a customer of Intel and uses its processor in notebooks and desktops.

In saying Intel execs Shane Wall and Pankaj Kedia were wrong in criticizing iPhone performance, Anand Chandrasekher, general manager of Intel's ultramobility products group, acknowledged that the Atom draws more battery power than the ARM chip in a smartphone. And while Intel has plans to improve the Atom's power usage, "we are not there as yet."

"The statements made in Taiwan were inappropriate, and Intel representatives should not have been commenting on specific customer designs," Chandrasekher said Thursday in a company blog.

The controversial remarks were first reported by ZDNet in Australia, which is owned by CBS. Following his keynote, Wall, VP of Intel's mobility group, said the iPhone was slow in browsing the Web. "Any sort of application that requires any horsepower at all and the iPhone struggles," he said.

Kedia, a director within the same Intel group, went on to blame the shortcoming on the ARM processor. "The shortcomings of the iPhone are not because of Apple," said Kedia, who joined Wall on the IDF stage. "The shortcomings of the iPhone have come from ARM."

While the iPhone disappointed the Intel executives, most reviewers have said the Web-browsing ability of the iPhone 3G released in July is among the best in the product category.