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Thursday, 29 May 2014 12:44

Brian Krzanich admits Intel missed the boat on tablets

Written by Peter Scott

Took too long to realise and take action

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has admitted the obvious – Intel missed the boat on tablets.

Speaking at the Code Conference, Krzanich said the company was slow to react to the emergence of tablets and smartphones.

“There was a belief that tablets would be a consumption device only (and) that people would come back to the laptop and the PC. There were heavy debates within Intel and it took a while for us to accept and acknowledge that data. Companies make mistakes,” Krzanich told Walt Mossberg in an interview.

In other words at least part of Intel’s failure to tap the emerging mobile market a few years ago was internal wrangling.

The course shifted under the Krzanich regime. Last Intel President Renee James and Krzanich made it clear that the company is now treating its Atom line-up just like its big cores. For years the company treated Atoms as a sideshow, making sure that they would not eat into Core sales.

ARM had different ideas and so did AMD, they went after the tablet and essential notebook markets. As a result ARM currently dominates the mobile space, while AMD managed to carve a nice niche in the entry-level x86 segment, with Brazos and Kabini parts.

Intel is fighting back, but it is paying a heavy price. The company is on track to quadruple its tablet SoC shipments to 40 million units this year, but it has to pay through the nose to get there. As for the smartphone market, Intel is all but absent. 

Krzanich insists he is not giving up on the phone and tablet space. He wants Intel to take a 15 to 20 percent market share in these segments, which sounds very ambitious. Thanks to generous subsidies it has a good chance in the tablet space. This week Intel announced a deal with Rockchip, which should also boost its presence in the booming tablet market in China. 

However, so far the company has not rolled out a compelling smartphone SoC and it’s lagging behind the competition in LTE integration. 

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