Does Intel need to pour millions into Ultrabook fund?

Does Intel need to pour millions into Ultrabook fund?

Summary: Intel has pledged at least $300 million to develop its MacBook Air competitor, which raises questions about how valuable this project actually is.

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TOPICS: Intel
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Intel just announced a new plan to allot $300 million to an investment fund for bolstering hardware and software companies that will be contributing to its Ultrabook.

The Silicon Valley giant is betting big on these slim notebooks, and as ZDNet's John Morris puts it, Intel is hoping "to breathe new life into the PC."

An endeavor like this could go either way. Either Intel will actually end up with a revolutionary product that sells big...or it will end up with a glorified netbook for which no one wants to shell out hundreds of dollars.

Intel is aiming to keep these puppies below $1,000 each, which will be necessary if it wants to survive against the only other true contender in the envelope-thin category, the MacBook Air. (Although, it's sort of funny as the Air runs on Intel chips, but I digress...)

However, there isn't a right or wrong answer here -- at least not yet. Of course, once these Ultrabooks hit the market, then we can figure that out.

But for now, Intel has to take its gamble. Sometimes gambles like this do pay off...and then they really don't. For example, although neither RIM nor HP likely plugged in $300 million for the PlayBook and TouchPad, those haven't turned out so well.

There is obviously some kind of demand out there for ultra-thin laptops and tablets that only Apple has been able to fufill for the most part. Thus, the door is open for competition, someone really should step through it. The industry really does need a breath of fresh air. If providing funding to tech partners is the key to doing so, then perhaps Intel is on the right track by making the Ultrabook into more of a collaborative effort.

Or not. Acer CEO Stan Shih recently labeled tablets and specifically named Ultrabooks as passing fads. Maybe if Intel's investment pays off, Shih will change his tune.

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Topic: Intel

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12 comments
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  • Why not? Why even ask?

    How much money has MS poured into a product (Surface?) with little or no ROI?

    Can we safely assume Intel knoweth of what they do?

    I'd say so.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate!
  • RE: Does Intel need to pour millions into Ultrabook fund?

    The PC market evolved to a place where only Intel and Microsoft were doing any serious R&D. That's because they were the only ones making any serious money. All the others found themselves in a commodity hardware business where there was no reward for doing anything except supply chain management to keep things cheap. Dell actually got quite good at that, but they were also spending something like 3% of sales on R&D, which is no way to fund innovation.

    Given that, it really is up to Intel (and Microsoft) to advance the state of the art in the Wintel world. They are the only ones with the resources to do so.

    This is probably a big part of why HP wants no part of Android. To them, Android looks just like Windows except with Google playing the role of the guy who makes all the money. They've been there, done that, and have the T-shirt. Never again.
    Robert Hahn
  • A big Netbook with yet more hype.

    The ultrabook is just a sub notebook/big netbook so that the clueless and rich can pay mega bucks.
    albionstreet
  • RE: Does Intel need to pour millions into Ultrabook fund?

    I thought Apple uses Intel chips in the MacBook laptops. I'm confused? Is Intel planning to make and sell a laptop rival product?

    Why would a chipmaker be so worried about the production of an ultra (light) notebook?
    jlt0x
  • RE: Does Intel need to pour millions into Ultrabook fund?

    The PC market isn't capable of competing against a product like the MBA, without Intel's subsidy. And Intel wants to sell more chips...
    tiredofpickingusernames
    • What is inside MBA?

      @tiredofpickingusernames
      Last time I checked, it is intel inside.
      ZenithY
      • And that is the FUNNY part:)

        @ZenithY .. Even Intel can't figure out how Apple can do it. I love this current theme Apple king of the over priced junk (as some often claim) is the recognized KING of price competitiveness. In a wink of an eye the worm has turned. I never knew worms were that fast at turning actually.. Ha!

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
  • 300M is nothing for Intel. This doesnt indicate any sort of priority AT ALL

    Is Intel really serious about the ultrabook? They should be. It's just about the only play they have that competes for the potential ARM tablet consumer. Still I've seen no compelling ultrabook design, including the mba...
    Johnny Vegas
    • Well that is because of the first letter

      @Johnny Vegas of MBA stands for Macintosh and not Microsoft or you might find it more compelling if it were the Windows Book Air... Then with the very same specs and hardware it would be so very cool:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Does Intel need to pour millions into Ultrabook fund?

        @James Quinn
        So just boot Windows on a MBA if you don't like OS X.
        tiredofpickingusernames
      • Actually I prefer OSX by a WIDE MARGIN.

        @tiredofpickingusernames .. A huge Apple Fan myself while Johnny above is a HUGE MS fanatic:)

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
  • RE: Does Intel need to pour millions into Ultrabook fund?

    I think Intel is releasing Ultrabooks too soon, If they want the masses to have the WOW!! factor then they should release UB with the Haswell processor in a couple of years (yes I know thats a long time in the IT world). The simple fact that Haswells 1/2 TDP will solidify the UB design as legitimate goes a long way to the lonegevity of a product.

    releasing the product now may kill a products reputation. releasing it when Haswell ships may give the UB the credibility it needs.
    PriMinister