Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

Summary: Intel CEO on Windows 8: "I think it's one of the best things that's ever happened to our company."


To say Intel CEO Paul Otellini is upbeat about the prospects for Microsoft's Windows 8 may be a bit of an understatement. In fact, Otellini said Windows 8 is "one of the best things that's ever happened to our company."

That's one pretty heady statement. Speaking at a Credit Suisse technology conference, Otellini batted away worries that he called myths surrounding Intel. These myths covered the idea that ARM will hurt Intel, that the PC is toast and that the chip giant can't do mobile well.

A lot of those worries---myths in Intel's view---have links to Windows 8. Here's what Otellini said about Windows 8:

We are very excited about Windows 8. I think it's one of the best things that's ever happened to our Company. And it's a very good operating system, not just for PCs, but we think also will allow tablets to really get a legitimacy into mainstream computing, particularly in enterprises that they don't have today. A lot of the enterprise managers are worried about security, they're worried about the difficulty affording their legacy applications over to an Android tablet or to an iPad.

What Microsoft is doing is making that seamless for them. And they have a new experience, which they call Metro, that's the interface up there. But for Intel-based machines, there is also one button that basically takes you back to your classic Windows experience and that's a software button essentially.

So you're just running one manifestation of the operating system with two different GUIs, if you will, it's not running on virtual machines, it's one manifestation. So this gives us, x86, in particular, I think a unique advantage as Windows 8 comes to market, because we can take advantage of all the legacy that was ever written, and all of the fact that all the drivers for the mice and for printers and every other USB device in the world. For example, getting photos off your camera and onto a tablet.

Try that if you don't have a driver, doesn't work. On the other hand, if that tablet is running [an extension] of Windows, it's going to work just like it works with the PC today. So there is a huge advantage built in that we think we have as the Windows 8 products start launching.

Those comments followed a question about the ARM architecture. Otellini argued that Windows 8 on ARM will have a few natural disadvantages---notably support for legacy applications. Otellini likened Windows 8 on ARM to the transition when Apple moved from PowerPC to Intel. In other words, the switch isn't trivial.

On other key points:

Emerging markets are driving PC sales. Otellini said that the PC is far from dead. In fact, China, Brazil and India are heavily populated countries where an emerging middle class is buying PCs.

The PC has become stale, but the industry is fixing that problem. Otellini said:

One of the things that we have to do though as an industry and as a Company is to make sure that the PC remains vibrant. I think it's gotten a little stale, to some extent. There was a rush to the bottom, in terms of lowering the costs and taking features out and making the PC a little bit more boring than their counterparts in consumer electronics, for example, the iPad kinds of devices. So Intel is set out to redefine the PC again and we've done this several times in the past in our history. This one is very interesting.

It's an initiative that we call, Ultrabook. This is about thinner, sleeker, faster, more responsive PCs, longer battery life, more secure, but also at a mainstream price point. The Apple MacBook Air has been out for several years now, but it's a high -- it's a premium priced device.

CES will be about mobile for Intel, which will deliver high performance at lower power. Otellini said:

All the major vendors are now, silicon vendors are moving to a model where you develop these Form Factor Reference Designs, where you basically lock down the components and validate them on networks, on the 3G, 4G networks that are out there such that they can go -- our customers can go through IOT testing very quickly to get on -- into the market.

And you'll see a number of Intel customers using the guts of this phone to go into the market in the first half of next year, and we'll have more announcements on that at CES. But what I've done here is, we've measured this phone against the other top-five-selling -- high-selling smartphones that are out there today. And on the top chart, this is power, lower is better, right, and so standby 3G, we're not the best, but we're pretty darn close. For audio playback, we are the second best and well ahead of the pack. And on 720p video playback, again better than most and almost the best-in-class.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Intel, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets, Windows

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  • Doesn't Intel own shares in ARM?

    Some years ago DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) bought a sizeable slice of ARM and combined their Alpha processor (fastest processor in the world) technology with the ARM (highest MIPS per Watt processor in the world) to make the StrongARM. DEC subsequently went bust and Intel bought them out (or is my memory failing me?) This means that Intel owns a sizeable chunk of ARM so could start producing Intel ARM processors. So it doesn't matter if ARM seriously undermines the X86 market as it's swings and roundabouts for Intel.
    On another of Otellini's points: "Otellini likened Windows 8 on ARM to the transition when Apple moved from PowerPC to Intel." Yes? And why did Apple abandon PowerPC? Because it was inadequate for Apple's future plans. Is the X86 processor family inadequate for Microsoft's future plans?
    In today's eco-conscious world, it does make sense for all computers to move to processors which are far more efficient that those that Intel produces. We all know how long a typical laptop battery lasts (and how physically big it is). We also know how long a phone battery lasts (and how big it is). So it only remains for all laptops to use ARM technology and imagine the battery life we might achieve!
    Finally, back in days of yore (1991) I bought my first Intel based desktop PC running an 80486 at 33 MHz. My other desktop was an ARM based one running an ARM at 8 MHz. Using the same Basic interpreter (of which I had 2 versions, one for the ARM and one for the 80486) I wrote a simple program which repeatedly calculated the sine of an angle as it increased from 0 to 360 degrees in very small increments. On the '486 it took 1.59 seconds. On the ARM it took 1.61 seconds. Remember that the clock speed of the ARM was less than a quarter that of the '486 yet the program times were almost identical. Intel has since improved the computing performance of its chips but at the cost of hugely increased power consumption. We need to use ARM's technology to reduce the power consumption of computers. The switch from X86 to ARM as the processor of choice for all computers on the planet could be of enormous benefit in reducing energy consumption globally.
    • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

      Yes, but is is actually the screen that use the majority of the power.
      Johan Safari
    • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

      You may have tested the FPU and not the CPU. Some 486s didn't have an FPU, so it may not have been a fair test.
  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

    Appe Macinto$h. Damn, there is meant to be a pound sign where the L is but it wont show :-(
    • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

      Apple - company created by Job$$.
      Here are your dollar signs ;)
  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

    Actually, the greatest benefactor will be Qualcomm, which has no presence in the windows marketplace, so far. Once they can actually compete with Intel, then the percentage gains will be staggering, since market share four times a small number will blow Wall Street away!
    Tony Burzio
  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

    Can we take seriously any pronouncement about "best things that ever happened..." when the thing hasn't happened, i.e., shipped to the general consumer?<br><br>Just for fun, though, let's assume that it's January 2013, the statement makes semantic sense, and Win 8 has been out for a few months, along with Tablets (maybe some running Intel, maybe some are Windows on ARM), what's the metric we may use to ascertain the previous high-water mark and cross-check late 2012 performance? Was the last best thing Windows 95 and its insistence for 486 processors?<br><br>Or is the salient question "Isn't CEO speak a foreign language in which all statements universally translate to nothing?" The silent skeptic I hang around with is nodding his head.
  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

    * The problem with Windows 8 on ARM or Intel is the bloat that comes with any Desktop App, which is why I'm not interested in it.
    * The problem with Windows 8 on ARM is lack of Apps, which is why I'm not interested in it.

    90% of the time on my laptop I use Firefox, Outlook and Spotify. Android has very good equivalents for Firefox/Outlook and has Spotify. I don't feel I'm getting a lesser experience by buying something like the Asus Transformer Prime.

    A mouse offers better precision than my finger, which is why it's better suited to the likes of Photoshop and long menus.

    I'm excited about Windows 8 on touch-screen laptops but tablets, no thanks.
  • Show me time

    They had grand promises last year too. "50 tablet design wins" they said. Well? Where are they? The year before too: Windows 7 was supposed to have the "touch centric interface" that brought the Windows Tablet to the common man - after 15 years of similar promises. See how that worked out?

    Maybe Intel should stop talking about how great tomorrow will be and set their focus to making a wonderful surprise. Surprise us. The teasing thing is just not working any more.

    It's not about the widget. It's about the people. It's about enabling people to do what they want and need to do. And mostly people want to connect with the people they care about and share their experiences. Give us that.
  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

    @Johan Safari
    Aren???t Apple & Google to real empires now? Trying very hard not the be evil? 'M$' is just hate.. As Microsoft becomes more open and Apple continues to lock users into to their 'walled garden', those around fail to see that today???s reality, the one that you support has become everything the ever hated about the past.
  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Windows 8 'one of best things' for company

    I would agree with him. Since he is the CEO of Intel and directly works with Microsoft he is going to know a lot more about the industry than some analysts with wild guesses. There is a lot of talk about Microsoft Windows 8 going on and with this much chatter Microsoft must be doing something right.
    Loverock Davidson-