The Lisbon Strategy was undertaken in March 2000 with a stated mission to make Europe "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and with respect for the environment, by 2010." Clearly, that effort has fallen short of its objectives. Indeed, if anything, Europe has fallen behind other regions in the past decade.
Enter the EU's 2020 vision, an updated version of the strategy, with the deadlines pushed out to 2020. The European Commission intends to present a formal proposal for the EU 2020 strategy early this year.
For its part, Intel, at the services end of its research in Europe, is looking at how to define new socioeconomic models based on the ubiquity of the Internet. "That could be digital education, digital health, digital manufacturing or even digital government. We want to create proof-of-concept research, with the advantage that it could be quickly replicated across the continent," said Curley.
He acknowledged that while such research may be good for Europe, it is also good for Intel. The eventual solutions will be based on the uptake of information and communications technology, which should mean greater demand for Intel processors and software.
Citing examples of how hardware can create service opportunities, Curley observed that the Apple iPod had stimulated the creation of the iTunes Web site and associated music download service, and that the iPhone had created a market for downloadable applications. In a similar manner, he said, secure silicon could be used to enable the Intel Health Guide, a "mobile clinical assistant" that would let users proactively manage some conditions at home.
"We do see Europe as a springboard for services. We can grow organically, by acquisition, and service is becoming an alternative. And services are something that we can enable close to silicon as well as higher up the stack [food chain]," said Curley.
Future Horizons' Penn, by way of a caveat, pointed out that Intel has tried to break out of its PC corral in the past, with scant success. He said he understands why Intel wants to engage in research in Europe but questions the company's ability to follow through: "[Intel] Europe's research is as good as it gets, but whether Intel ends up doing anything with it remains to be seen."
Penn believes Intel's biggest problem is its own success; the company is "making too much money," he said. "They become complacent. But they are a smart chip company."
If Intel can help Europe turn around its economy through IT, that will be good news for Intel as well as for Europe.
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