Intel doesn't outright deny CEO's alleged Windows 8 slam

Intel doesn't outright deny CEO's alleged Windows 8 slam

Summary: A day after its CEO was accused of calling Windows 8 unfinished and still buggy, Microsoft partner Intel releases a carefully worded statement that fails to deny the original report.


Did Intel CEO Paul Otellini privately tell Intel employees Microsoft's Windows 8 is still buggy and is being released before it should have been -- or didn't he?


Bloomberg ran a story claiming he did on September 25. On September 26, Intel issued a statement about what company officials there called the "unsubstantiated" reports. But if you read Intel's statement, company executives never deny outright that Otellini made the alleged remarks.

Here's Intel's statement, in full:

"SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 26, 2012 – Today Intel Corporation issued a statement in response to unsubstantiated news reports about comments made by Intel CEO Paul Otellini in a meeting with employees.

"Intel has a long and successful heritage working with Microsoft on the release of Windows platforms, delivering devices that provide exciting experiences, stunning performance, and superior compatibility. Intel fully expects this to continue with Windows 8.

"Intel, Microsoft and our partners have been working closely together on testing and validation to ensure delivery of a high-quality experience across the nearly 200 Intel-based designs that will start launching in October. Intel CEO Paul Otellini is on record as saying 'Windows 8 is one of the best things that ever happened to Intel,' citing the importance of the touch interface coming to mainstream computing and the huge wave of exciting new Ultrabook™, tablet and convertible device innovations coming to the market."

As you can see, the Intel spokespeople charged with crafting this never actually deny that the company's CEO didn't say Windows 8 was unfinished and in need of fixes and improvements. There's a lot of fancy footwork in the statement above, but not actually an outright denial.

As I noted yesterday, it's tough to ever say any operating system release is "done." But I am hearing from some of my contacts that even though Microsoft isn't seeking external tester feedback any longer on Windows 8, its development team is continuing to work on Windows 8. One of my contacts said there should be quite a number of Windows 8 bug fixes and updates coming right before Windows 8 goes on sale at retail on October 26 via Windows Update.

Whether or not Otellini said what he's alleged to have said, his timing couldn't have been a whole lot worse. On September 27, Intel is set to showcase a slew of Windows 8 tablets at a San Francisco press event. (The event will not be streamed live -- I asked.)

Like Intel is in the case of the supposed Otellini statement, Microsoft is and was between a rock and a hard place in regards to Windows 8. Some of my readers who've been weighing in consider Windows 8 more than ready to roll. Others have said they think it is a half-baked mess. If Microsoft hadn't declared Windows 8 ready to RTM in early August, there's a good chance Microsoft could have missed the holiday 2012 window -- something it really couldn't afford to forego if it hopes to get into the touch-tablet game.

Update: For even more on the changing Intel-Microsoft alliance, check out this in-depth story on CNET from Shara Tibken detailing the increasingly rocky history between the "Wintel" allies.

Topics: Intel, Microsoft, Tablets, ARM, PCs, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • More comments of nerds going into technical discussion of W8 readiness?

    With this statement Intel simply wants to distance oneself in the eyes of board & investors in case Intel sales will slow down dramatically because of Windows 8 making people want to pass on buying new PCs for a while. It is a diplomatic statement, not technical. He couldnt just say directly "Windows 8 is half-baked and has fat chance to fail", because after all it may hurt further sales even more.
    • Good

      That is a good point. The CEO of Intel has not been spending his time playing beta-tester with Windows 8. By trade he's an econ/MBA type who has run sales, marketing, and operations. He would not know, from personal experience or by qualifications, whether Windows 8 was ready or not.

      I think you nailed the answer to the question, "then why did he say it?"
      Robert Hahn
      • Sure, it isn't like windows is the largest driver of Intel chip sales;-)

        Do you guys seriously believe the Intel CEO hasn't been briefed about the state of Windows 8 given its affect on his companies bottom line?

        MS is playing catchup, pushing out an updated OS a necessity. Not the first time, Vista was the same.
        Richard Flude
      • I have to wonder what your qualifications are

        That's a completely half-baked comment that reeks of today's Academia degree churnouts, a failure that even the top of our education tree has yet to tackle. How do you go from "by trade" to an immediate logic jump of "he would not know"? That, or a hobbyist hanging on the coat tails of the skilled.

        It sounds like you either lack--from personal experience or by qualifications--how exactly innovation is made. In our world, there isn't some barricade of name or qualification on determining how buggy something is.

        You sit there. You use it. You laugh at Metro UI implementation. You do not need some kind of endless list of training and qualifications to make this observation. Maybe if Otellini went in depth with how the implementation of Windows 8 as a theory is completely incapable of scaling with their business direction you'd have a point.


        There are many things we can say about how this guy jumped the gun, but you're just rambling.
        • They send those guys to Be Careful school

          The question is why somebody with his sophistication would make what seems like a fairly intemperate remark. Even if, as the previous poster suggested, he'd been briefed on the subject, we usually don't see the heads of companies saying things like that even in private... unless they want it out there without directly saying such a thing. As Mary Jo's article is pointing out, Intel's "non-denial denial" is totally consistent with such a maneuver. It is not at all "rambling" to suspect that the reason he would do that is to set the stage for below-expectation sales of PCs in Q4.

          ZDNet has so far been mercifully free of Dueling Degrees posts, and I will endeavor to keep it that way. Suffice to say, based on things I've seen through the years, that I do not believe that Paul Otellini has spent much time poking at Windows 8. I think he has plenty else to do.
          Robert Hahn
          • And that's surprising?

            It's also common knowledge that marketing has pushed the notion to society that the moment you deny something, it's an automatic admission that whatever it is you deny doing actually did happen.

            It's much like Apple never admitting tha there was, or wasn't, malware infecting Macs - the moment you acknowledge something either way, you at least give credence to the possibility that it does exist.
            William Farrel
          • "Common knowledge" my donkey!

            Not denying hasn't exactly convinced anyone to the contrary either, has it.
      • Maybe he had one to play with?

        "He would not know, from personal experience or by qualifications, whether Windows 8 was ready or not."

        Scenario: Maybe he picked one up out of curiosity, and didn't enjoy the experience?

        Do you think it likely that the CEO of Intel wouldn't want *any* "hands on" experience with MS's Next Big Thing?
        • Alternatively...

          Alternatively, I am thinking because he works so closely with Microsoft, he might have heard directly from the Windows team that they are shipping this product in an unfinished state (and plan to push the out the fixes by GA or some later date).
  • In it's current state it's much more stable, reliable, and secure than ios6

    or android so you can fully expect the W8 tablets experiences to not only be much more appealing to users but to also leave them a lot less frustrated by the hangs, reboots, malware, etc. you find on all android tablets. On top of that the web experience in IE10 is much faster and is more html and css compliant than with safari on ipad or chrome or any other browser on android. So no no theres no reason not to come to market now. And it will only get better over time.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Order now!

      Plus, with Windows 8 there's no angular momentum like you feel with the high-speed turbines. And you'll never have to worry about those annoying spots on the rug. Windows 8 offers true relevance, and posthumous negligence second to none! Order two copies and save! Just pay shipping and handling.
      Robert Hahn
      • That was witty.

        But practice a little more in front of a mirror.
      • Please

        You forgot the Fairy Dust. Free with every copy of Windows 8. Unlimited amounts. More expensive Windows licenses emit at higher rate and contami.. pollu.. err, cover wider area.

        Just 10% for me. :)
        • What are your qualifications?

      • Sarcasm aside, there is no shipping & handling charges for upgrades, or for

        new systems which include the OS inside. You should know that.

        However, what might require shipping & handling costs, is the BS which you serve on a daily and per post basis, and without merit, and which people have come to expect from you.
    • Plus

      You'll get a free Cabbage Patch Doll with each Windows 8 purchase! (Those who have been in IT for a LONG time will understand that!)
  • Windows 8.0 is a first step. But there may be a second next year.

    The way large software companies (like Microsoft) work is that they have a vision of the next release, three years or so in the future.

    As things go on, it always becomes clear that some features are just not going to be mature enough to make it. They haven't been fully developed or tested.

    At that point, the software company has two choices:

    - Incorporate a part of the feature into the release (which could be fully tested, or only partially tested, depending on the company)
    - Defer the full feature to the next release.

    My guess, and this is only a guess on reading the tea leaves, is that there is a fairly large set of features that Microsoft judged was not mature enough to make it into Windows 8.0. They then totally cut these features, even though most parts of them were OK.

    If I am right, then, for the first time in its history, Microsoft will come out in about a year's time with a very substantial free upgrade to Windows 8.0 ("Project Blue") that addresses all the criticisms of Windows 8.0.

    Call it a "Feature Pack", as opposed to a "Service Pack". The result? Windows 8.5.

    Just a guess.
    Ian Easson
    • 8.5

      You cannot move from 8.0 to 8.5 with Microsoft. Apparently, 81, 8.2, 8.3 and 8.4 will be released over the Christmas Holidays. Some Thursday.
      • Got qualifications?

  • Reading too much in between the lines

    Running Window 8 on dozen machines for few months now, its rock stable and pleasure to work with. Not sure what constitutes bug free? Do u see any OS that gets zero fixes during its lifetime? So what is the issue?