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Intel's Uncertain Future

Microsoft took a lot of heat last week when IDC reported a 13.9 percent decline in PC shipments for the first quarter of this year. While it wasn't a shocker that PC sales were declining, the shortfall far exceeded the 7.7 percent shortfall IDC had originally forecast.

After IDC blamed disappointing sales of Windows 8, I begged the question if Microsoft can turn it around with the next wave of Windows wares code-named "Blue." We'll get more insights on that going into June. However, I'm still of the belief that a better crop of processors from Intel will make Windows 8 more attractive.

Haswell, which promises to offer improved battery life and better graphics rendering, will be key to the delivery of new high-end systems, notably Ultrabooks. Just as important, the redesigned 22 nanometer Atom processor, code-named "Bay Trail," could work its way into new tablets and smartphones. But it faces stiff competition from a number of other players including AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm and others supporting the low-power processor design of ARM.

As Intel looks to spread its wings, there are a lot of questions about the company's future, including who will replace CEO Paul Otellini, who unexpectedly said he will retire next month -- three years short of the company's mandatory retirement age of 65. Intel apparently did not have a successor lined up, though it appears the company is likely to tap an insider, The New York Times reported today.

Though expectations are that Intel will report revenues and earnings tomorrow on the low end of analyst expectations, the report and any future outlook or guidance company officials give could either amplify or mute IDC's findings.

Regardless, the deliverables from Intel and its partners, along with the new wave of Windows software from Microsoft, should result in some improved new device choices later this year.

Microsoft and Intel may no longer be exclusively tied at the hip but the fact that Wintel has evolved is not a bad thing. What type of Windows 8 device would win you over? Feel free to comment or drop me a line at [email protected]

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/15/2013 at 1:15 PM


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