Intel chairman 'embarrassed' that company had lost its way

Intel chairman 'embarrassed' that company had lost its way

Summary: In order to make up for lost ground, Intel is looking to quadruple its tablet business to 40 million units during the coming year.

TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware, Intel

There's little doubt that the speed and ferocity of the transition from the PC to post-PC devices caught many companies on the hop. The big names that had dominated the PC landscape for decades were caught out by the sudden shift in both consumer and enterprise spending away from desktops and notebooks, and instead to buying cheaper devices in the form of smartphones and tablets. But now Intel chairman Andy Bryant explains just how badly caught out the company was.

Speaking during a day-long meeting with investors at the company's HQ, Bryant admitted how ill-prepared the company had been for the transition.

"I was personally embarrassed that we seemed to have lost our way," Bryant said.
He went on to say that the company is now "paying the price" for allowing rivals to get such a firm foothold in the mobile sector.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is cautiously optimistic about the future, claiming while PC sales are still expected to decline, that will happen at a slower rate.

"The PC market is beginning to see signs of stabilization," said Krzanich.

So what is Intel going to do as PC sales decline? Focus on tablets, that's what. Over the coming year it wants to quadruple its tablet business to 40 million units, and to accomplish that goal it has its sights set on tablets of all types, even down to $100 bargain end of the spectrum.

"We've got to have that footprint," Krzanich told investors. "We've got to have that scale."
Intel is also getting serious about computing beyond Windows, and is looking to develop hardware that can have Chrome OS and Android installed alongside Windows, as well as trying to carve a market for itself in the high-end smartphone market.

There's no doubt that Intel was late getting to the post-PC party, and that the company allowed smaller players such as Qualcomm and Nvidia to gain traction with their products. It's also clear that Intel is feeling the pinch after the bottom fell out of the PC market (fortunately for Intel, the server market remained strong, and is expected to continue to grow over the coming years). However, the question remains as to whether there's much room for Intel, especially at the high end, where Nvidia and Qualcomm have things stitched up between them. Intel might have to throw a lot of money and be willing to operate on razor-thin margins in order to carve out the sort of footprint it has planned.

Another question is where does this leave AMD? The company might be sitting pretty having scored a place inside both Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, but the company has next to no presence in the mobile market. Will AMD also need to make a foray into the mobile market, or is it content with its share of the diminishing PC market along with the console market?

See also:

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Intel

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Intel chairman 'embarrassed' that company had lost its way

    They didn't get into the tablet fad, I'd say the dodged a bullet. There is no need for them to over compensate by quadrupling in that dead market. If they do it will put their company further behind.
    • Dream On

      You can dream about the old days of the desktop but the reality is that tablets and touch are here to stay. Some form of hybrid will eventually replace the clam shell laptop further supporting tablets in general.

      Another twist that will slow desktop purchases is that it looks like the ultimate desk top processor for a long time will be the 6 core i7. Even the 4 core i7 is overkill for almost all needs. The processors run faster that you can feed them data over the web and even in house networks of file servers.

      Moore's law will keep going for a while but there is no need for it. What has stalled is Wirth's Law. There are several variations but I like the statement that is sometimes called May's law: "Software efficiency halves every 18 months, compensating Moore's Law." With smaller computers (smart phones and tablets) we are seeing a forced but probably temporary suspension of this law. This is what is really effecting desktop sales because they are not becoming as obsolete as fast.
      • Wirth's law is interesting.

        He came up with the idea in 1987. The phone I am now typing on has 3x the floating point power of the fastest supercomputer the Cray 2 (they liked to compare supercomputer raw speed in floating point ops in those days) It has about 10x the communication throughput and is faster in integer ops as well. And fits comfortably in my pocket - without the three story liquid cooling tower and without the chips surrounded by liquid freon.

        I don't think Niklaus imagined the raw power we would have today. And I agree - for my laptop my i3 chip on the 350 dollar 2 year old device works as well as I need it to - why upgrade.

        I wonder what worth would think of his law today?
        • come to think of it

          I think his law became void in the late 1990's when folks decided that they could waste co.putting power and still have an enjoyable experience with interpreted languages like Java.
    • Even though ARM is currently "slow"..

      The architecture has the capability of having about twice the throughput of Intel.
      • twice the throughput?

        Is that a factual statement or a religious opinion??

        As an Intel employee and stockholder for over 30 years I really do need to know if there's some unwritten law that says electrons move with lower motive force in an ARM CPU made in a foundry. Or do they just waggle less interconnect up and down?

        Data please! and examples using currently marketed silicon.
        • @P0l0nium

          The GP is a little lost. But the tablet platform on ARM has achieved "good enough". Your eyes aren't going to see more than 300 dpi, and that's what you get now on a decent ARM tablet so Intel has no room to improve there. Responsiveness is stellar. Quad cores and native gpgpu means incredible performance for a slim battery powered device that runs all day. App ecosystem is good enough to create a high barrier to entry. Hardware device ecosystem and driver support are mobile/ARM/Linux first these days for new technologies - especially in mobile. Battery life? We don't need more than "all day".

          It is going to take some amazing stuff to unseat this advantage. "Not 20% better. 2x." And what is left to work with to make that 2x from? App compat with legacy apps? We know how well that argument is working. Legacy apps are wholly inappropriate for the new mobile world. Raw performance? If you can't tell, does it matter? Price? Good luck with that. Nexus 7's are moving at $200. Exclusive hardware patents? Not gonna happen. Compelling peripheral device exclusives? No chance.

          Seriously, as an Intel employee and stockholder for over 30 years you tell me what is the Unique Selling Proposition for an Intel chip in a mobile device.
          • No evidence there ....

            That's an argument for "good enough" which is entirely subjective against "twice", which is a factual assertion.

            So you HAVEN'T got any evidence to support the original statement... Thought not!

            The Unique selling proposition for an Intel chip in a mobile device ... That's a different question. Ask a marketeer, that's what we pay them for!
        • a better concern for you would be this.

          Will Intel stop mismanaging the Atom program - and if they do is it too late. As I posted above Intel went out of their way to make sure graphics and video could not be displayed well with Atom chips and went after companies like Nvidia which found solutions to get around those problems.
          • True!

            Well, that's the most true statement that's been made here.
            That's why Otellini had to go (having declared tablet purchase to be "additive").
            They are "on the ball" now. Bay trail is competitive, Iris is eating Nvidias lunch and Haswell is protecting against Arm incursion on the desktop. They are gaining market share in Chromebooks (OK, its not a big segment but its 'telling').

            I'm on a mission to ridicule the ARM zealots ... Its fun shooting at people who have no ammunition!
          • I love internet Rambo's


            The funny thing here is that you're trying to defend a company that doesn't need it. Intel is a big company and is really capable of running it's business.

            The problem is and always has been, that Arm came from a low power background, using principles from the venerable 6502 architecture, whilst Intel has always been in the brute force approach to computing.

            People associate Arm with low power chips, not desktop chips. The days of Arm as a desktop chip died with the Acorn Archimedes computers in the early 90's. Intel has always been associated with desktops, laptops and Netbooks, but not really mobile phones and tablets.

            Try as they may Intel are late to the party. Arm got there early on and talked to all the best guests. Intel however have turned up late, when everyone is really tired and have tried to wow us with their toys. Problem is, that unless Intel can come up with something that is an order of magnitude better, in a saleable product, they will always be having a hard time.

            It's about the products, not the chips. Chips run the products, but we don't fish for that, it's not a single spec game any more but a combination of UI, OS, UX and hardware. Give us that and we're interested, don't give it and we're happy with the current crop of devices.
        • Intel has no room here

          Intel only knows how to muscle its way into markets by using underhanded tactics and anti-trust based compilers and marketing to push competitors out of the market. Not with superior chips. Just as on the desktop the only thing compelling they have is the highest of high end and the price is far too high to ever justify buying it. Their server chips are also complete jokes for the price and can only be sold to big box vendors buying in bulk on credit.
          They missed the tablet train because nobody cares too much about x86 on tablets and Intel and its Atom is nothing more than a sad attempt at combatting that. Atoms are dog-sht slow and have horrible efficiency for the "speed". The graphics are inferior and they lack any HSA. ARM is HSA, Qualcomm chips are HSA, AMD is going HSA. Intel knows nothing but oldschool raw single threaded performance. They reverse engineered AMD's AMD64 to become relivant again and stole all the ideas for On-die memory controllers and QPI and their caching from AMD designs in the first place. Even their Atoms use crappy FSB tech.

          ARM is fast enough for most tasks, its power usage is low and it doesn't need to get much faster because of HSA its a sum of all the components. Putting "general computing" in tablets is not what is going to help the consumer. Its such a uninteresting oldschool brute for way of computing and thats why it has no place in the post-pc era. Intel is unable to offer a compelling product because its still far off from what ARM has today. The original poster that you replied to is right, the way that ARM is designed right now it has the ability to have about twice the throughput of Intel chips in time just because of the HSA mentality. Meaning that everything isn't centric around one - four cores.
          • Evidence??

            I asked for evidence based on currently marketed silicon not a bunch of religious waffle and historical half-truths.

            Go analyse the ASUS transformer T100 or the Dell Venue pro 11 and report back when you've had an education.
          • Historical half-truths?

            I assume that you are not referring to the well documented cases of Intel bribing and coercing OEMs not to use AMD chips in the 90's?
    • "fad" tablet market is dead?

      What planet are you living on, buddy?
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • he's living in...

        ...mcirosoft brainwashed matrix. in their world, whatever is microsoft wish, it's their command.
      • Apparently his own little world

        He's either trolling or thicker than a bank vault door. Either way, best not to indulge him.
        Third of Five
    • Dodged a bullet??

      There are 7 Billion people out there and they ALL need internet access and they ALL want their own device and they ALL need to have faith that they're not wasting their hard earned Rupees and Kenyan Shillings on last years fluff.

      Intel didn't "dodge a bullet". They've avoided 'first movers hubris'.
      First movers rarely come out on top.
      • +1

        Ram U
      • And only about 100 million of them can afford to pay the HUGE cost involved

        in using a device that HAS to connect to the Internet to do anything. I currently use an ADSL Internet connection and pay $100 per month for 2 GB download / upload - to do the same on a wireless connection would cost me close to $2,000 per month. Tablets are OK for things like reading a file off a USB drive, but they aren't powerful enough to do the processing I need when writing a story or designing cover artwork.

        In most of the world people pay per megabyte for Internet access, and any device that requires permanent Internet connection or does all it's work over a wireless Internet connection is just way too expensive.
        Deadly Ernest