Intel to leave desktop motherboard business by 2016

More evidence that the desktop's days are numbered as Intel says it will exit the desktop motherboard business to focus on all-in-ones, NUCs, and tablets.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Intel has confirmed that it is winding down its desktop motherboard operations, as desktop computer sales continue to decline and tablet sales surge.

"We've decided to look at shifting our focus to some of the more innovative spaces," an Intel spokeswoman told ZDNet on Thursday. "In the desktop space, that includes the Next Unit of Computing (NUC), but also a more fundamental shift to focus more on ultrabooks and other products like tablets."

The Santa Clara chip giant intends to stop making desktop motherboards over the next three years.

The fourth-generation Haswell chips, which are still under development, have the potential to be used in devices from smartphones to ultrabooks to desktops, due to their low power consumption.

Intel will continue rolling out desktop motherboards that are currently in production, in addition to the fourth-generation Haswell desktop boards that are in the design and development phase, and due to be released later this year. These products will have a typical life cycle of about 18 months, said the Intel spokeswoman, adding that Intel customers will continue to be supported with a full warranty during that time.

"Out of our Q4 earnings, we did see a slight decline in the PC market, but we think there are healthy growth opportunities in the other markets," the Intel spokeswoman said. "But we do believe the ultrabook and some of our other innovations, especially all-in-ones and the NUC, are going to continue to help reinvigorate the PC space."

The NUC devices are small 4x4-inch computers that are designed to appeal to consumers who need a computer for basic tasks, like playing media or web browsing.

In addition to pursuing new form factors, Intel is also looking to expand the Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD) work it does with third-party OEM partners on developing new board designs for desktop PCs.

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