Intel's outgoing chief executive, Paul Otellini, said he expected to be replaced by a company insider and also signaled that the top chipmaker could open its factories to strategic customers.
Otellini's comments at a Sanford Bernstein investor conference on Wednesday stoked speculation the top chipmaker may manufacture mobile chips for Apple and pushed Intel's shares higher on Thursday morning.
Intel raised eyebrows on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley in November when it said it will consider an outsider to take over after Otellini unexpectedly announced he will retire in May,.
But Otellini said he expects the board to choose from among the chipmaker's own executives. "I'm very comfortable with the internal candidates and the track record of internal versus external shows pretty clearly you want to stay inside if you can," he said.