Intel and Microsoft's symbiotic relationship has been beneficial for nearly three decades. But as the tide shifts away from PCs and toward low-powered microchips for small, mobile devices, both companies may suffer the same unlucky fate together.
"Intel has the same 'stock has gone nowhere in a decade' problem as Microsoft, and Otellini faces the possibility that the mobile market may not need Intel," said Yankee Group's Howe.
Paul Otellini has been Intel's CEO for exactly five years, and the company's stock is trading at exactly the same price it was in May 2005.
Otellini's biggest challenge has been that despite many breakthroughs in silicon chip performance, including most recently a 3-D chip design, Intel is finding that the desire for raw power is being replaced by a need for processors that sip power.
Microchips designed for rival ARM's platform are being used in most mobile devices, which are far outpacing growth of PCs, laptops and netbooks -- Intel's stronghold. Even Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows will work on the ARM platform for the first time.
Intel's latest announcements have largely focused on partnership deals for and improvements to its Atom-branded processors, which are designed for mobile devices. The demonstrations are encouraging, but analysts wonder if Intel is too late to the game -- and whether Intel needs a new vision from the top.
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