Apple is about to sign an agreement to start using Intel's chips in its computers, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Apple has been a long-time user of the Power chips originally designed by IBM and Motorola, but development of the processor has been slow.
While AMD and Intel are spearheading advances into dual-core models as well as chips running at speeds exceeding 3GHz, IBM has been left playing catch up.
However, a defection by Apple to Intel would be a moral victory at most for the chip vendor. Last year Apple accounted for only 2.3 per cent of worldwide desktop shipments, a market which is dominated by Intel.
If Apple decides to change processor platforms, the company would have to modify its software. Such a change would be a huge undertaking and could break compatibility with older software titles.
Many analysts doubt that Apple will make such a move, and some even argue that Apple merely leaked the story to turn up the heat on IBM. Apple suffered production delays last year which hurt sales of its Power Mac.
Spokespersons at Apple and Intel declined to comment, maintaining that the story was rumour and speculation.
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