Intel CFO Stacy Smith said Wednesday that the company doesn't fear Windows 8 on the ARM architecture and that it will win its fair share of the tablet business.
Speaking at the Citi Global Technology Conference, Smith was asked about how Microsoft's Windows 8 will affect the company. Windows 8 will also play nice with the ARM architecture, which is used by mobile devices.
Smith split Windows 8 into two parts---the legacy PC version that plays to Wintel---and the one venturing into mobile devices.
You have to separate out Windows 8 into its two components. There's a Windows 8 that's going to be for PCs and for Ultrabooks.
That's where legacy applications are enabled. You are not going to see ARM in that segment of the marketplace and that's where our historical strength of just driving form factors, driving silicon innovation, driving more performance and better features I think is going to be beneficial to us. It will be very beneficial to Microsoft. So very hand-in-hand there.
Then there's the Windows 8 that is targeted at tablets and devices. The thing there is that it will enable Intel Architecture-based tablets and devices in that segment of the market and so from that perspective, it's very exciting to us. We think it's going to be a good product. We think we're going to have some great products targeted at that segment of the market where we can really start to show our silicon capabilities, so that's good.
We know there will also be ARM devices there and the key for us there is to just deliver more performance in that form factor, more features in that form factor. We think that that enables us to do well. We win our fair share of the share and we get paid for our technology.
The big question revolves around what the revenue stream looks like for both flavors of Windows 8. If Windows 8 on PCs and ultrabooks chugs along nicely Intel will be just fine. Should PC sales continue to weaken and tablets become a dominant form factor, Intel will have to upend ARM. That chore may be difficult given that ARM is basically the primary architecture for mobile devices. It remains to be seen whether Intel's "better cores" strategy translates to mobile devices, which really only need to be good enough.