Intel CEO: Intel/Apple Report the "Haley's Comet of Rumors"

Intel chief executive officer said Tuesdayis report that Apple Computer has held talks with his company to possibly use its chips in future models of Macintosh computers is the "Haleyis comet of rumors."

Speaking at the on-going "D: All Things Digital," conference outside San Diego, Calif., Paul Otellini declined to confirm or deny a report in theWall Street Journal. Mr. Otellini said his companyis policy is not to comment on rumors, the same policy followed by Apple. Apple also called the report "rumors", but like Mr. Otellini, did not categorically deny the report.

The discussion with Mr. Otellini was part of a question-and-answer session at the conference which included a lengthy exchange about Intelis role in trying to protect consumers from a growing wave of computer viruses, spam and spyware. Mr. Otellini described ways to help address the problems with new chip technology that helps in three ways: isolating parts of computer from infection, making them more resistant to attacks that do reach a machine, and remotely fixing problems that do occur.

The WSJ cited two industry executives Monday who confirmed talks have been on-going between Intel and Apple. Neither company would confirm the report, but one source said the announcement could come at Appleis World Wide Developers Conference, set to begin June 6 in San Francisco.

The report, citing two industry executives with knowledge of recent discussions between the companies, said Apple will agree to use Intel Pentium processors, but gave no further details. "Talks between Apple and Intel could founder, as they have before, or Apple could be engaging in negotiations with Intel to gain leverage over IBM," the WSJ report said.

It is not known if Apple would use Intel processors together with the Power PC processor, made by IBM, or if the deal with be a dramatic shift entirely to Intel chips.