SAN JOSE Ė To use Andy Groveís well-worn phrase, Intel Corp. is at an inflection point. Itís time for the company to re-think what it wants to be in the next phase of its life.
One of its options is to strategically pivot. For years, Intel has led with an identity as a microprocessor designer that has great chip-making capabilities. Maybe itís time to lead with its left foot. Intel could be one heck of a foundry that happens to have its own line of very successful products.
Face it, the market has shifted from the desktops Intel dominates to tablets and smartphones where it barely participates. But world-class semiconductor manufacturing is as valuable as ever, even as Mooreís Law slows.
Here, Intel is still tops. First with high-k metal gate transistors. First with FinFETs. Tons of capacity in leading-edge fabs all over the world. Thereís little doubt it will be first to field the extreme ultraviolet lithography that is key to next-generation processes.
Iím not saying Intel should pull the plug on processors. It has a huge position with the x86 today and is doing a reasonable job playing catch up in the new game of SoCs. This is just a re-balancing. The corporate weight shifts from the front to the back foot.
Iím not alone in thinking this way. Jim Turley of Silicon Insidersees Intelís x86 on a slooooow decline along with the PC market and says itís time for a change. ďIntel needs a piece of good news, something that shows they have caught on to next-generation products, not hoping PCs will make a comeback,Ē Turley said.
The shift may already be in the works. Intel has been making chips for a handful of mainly small FPGA companies for a couple years.
ďI think they used those deals as training wheels, a trial run for a couple years before they would consider taking on some big customers,Ē Turley said,
In a conversation at IEDM yesterday, Intel's Mark Bohr suggests the company does have some larger volume foundry customers online or coming.
But he is also clear he expects this will never be a huge volume business for Intel or a general-purpose offering.
kenny.g -- you never held a 200LX? In 1991 it runs more software than smartphone do today and did it for 3 weeks on two AA batteries. The market can belong to Intel if they make the right decisions on mobile x86.
And Intel does not need to buy companies... only to provide them with foundry service... i.e. Acronix, Telit -- just hope they start taking advantage of that synergy on x86. But if they just focus on foundry they giving up the margin on end products.
The track record for Intel on power-efficiency has always been not good but their processing power is superb. However, this doesn't suit the mobile phone and tablet market. ARM on the other hand plays a different ball game, it is a better choice in battery-powered market as it started the design with an objective of low-power and by slowly adding instruction sets and processing power, it will soon be a major player in the server and pc industry because they are not over-designing and making their chips more expensive and power-hungry. Intel has a tendency of over-designing and adding component costs to achieve the processing power.
The number of chip manufacturers keeps dropping as do the number of competing designs. I wish Intel would find a way to effectively compete, from its own strengths, with the mobile chip manufacturers. Charlie Babcock, a senior writer at InformationWeek
Whoever done a global research in PC market decline? Nobody!
Everyone is picking-up story of less PC sold (based on Q-report of the PC companies), tabulated by analyst companies, and they make conclusion "the PC is DEAD!". Sigh!
And i still make report, generate customers support system on a PC. When it dies, i will buy another PC. Not mobile phone. Not tablets.
Unless the computer looks like the one in Tom Cruise "Majority Report", i still need my PC.
Even EETimes has this rumour:
Do INTEL really want to make the Ax chips that would replace Intel own x86 chips?
Intel also wants to enter mobile markets, then why it should give "advantage" of its foundry leader to its main rival in the mobile markets? Especially when your clients is a high profile ARM licensor?
Cisco is different market than what Intel is after. That make more sense. But Qualcomm certainly NOT!
PC for comsumer Market is dying faster than anaything, even MS has moved to make its own tablet and is providing software for smart phones as well.
So Intel has to look past PC, but I don't think it is a good idea for Intel to go into making its own systems, Intel is no IBM,
It should however, work with Big US fab less companies to supply a superior IP & chips.
It needs to build a new eco system.
15 years ago I worked for a company playing in the consumer market. No one would invest as it was such a dog of a space. Everyone was in IP and telecom. That space is now over subscribed. Intel have the crown jewels and need to remain strong and not move away from this. They have enpough cash and clout to survive. Apple do not invesst in core technology so the Apple lovers need them to buy it to stay ahead. Soon Apple will be a fad again with a few million lovers prepared to pay because they believe they are getting something better. Every consumer electronic company tha did this looses out eventually to a faster moving rival. Apple have already done this once, look to Sony etc for the currents. In Summary, Intel keep it in house
On Apple and CISCO; Apple certainly seems to know how to negotiate for Intel procurement, despite the fact that Intel owes Apple system end buyers a considerable sum in monopoly overcharge values for top of line Mac Pro.
On CISCO like other communications switch gear, Intel product that was good enough for the application has always been available through secondary sources, at such incredibly low prices in relation to Intel cost, who could go wrong? The issue is Intel must now compete for that direct sale on cost price and Intel cost is going up.
Perhaps 32 nanometers will be good enough for communications switch and route?
On QUANTA Intel is sitting on lots of undeclared supply going know where, declared and written down, would be the end of Intel. But since it was never declared in the 1st place . . .
Currently, 100 runs Pentium to Ivy Bridge, 29.59% of production is priced below cost. That loss is higher on Celeron deleted from assessment on no monopoly overcharge values. Where Intelís industrial financial theft from AMD, Cyrix, National, Nexgen, IBM, IDT, other processor, specialty memory design fabricators, would grow in excess of $62,318,101,609 now calculated.
20.59% of Intel production priced below cost opens the foundry opportunity for Intel to displace that loss with effective fabrication that is cost price efficient. Intel accounting group would need to conduct a real audit of production output. Or the production group would need to replace the entire Intel accounting group. Regardless there will be no foundry agreement where licensing companies cannot count on the counting house for their revenues.
Itís fairly obvious that ARM will attempt to negotiate a foundry license with Intel that will certainly keep a lot of lawyers busy on all the reconciliation between AMD, Intel, and foundries established on organic best practices. Iím not opposed to Intel foundry except that the monopolist Intel should be given no advantage over any foundry who established their position on organic best practices. Which means lots of cross licensee provisionís as Intel has nothing else to trade with foundries established on organic best practice.
Otellini left because he no longer has credibility with any other nation state including Intel. Atom is his industrial success where Intel surely needed to reclaim ground in that category. Otelliniís involvement in the sales racket was his end. He has no credibility with any legitimate governance institution and rebuilding of his reputation will be required in any occupation other than retirement
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