Intel changes lauded by research firm

Faced with declining sales of personal computers, which it has long depended upon for the bulk of  its chip revenues, Santa Clara-based Intel is making a good effort to reinvent itself, according to a research firm’s analysis.

“After missing major market opportunities in fast-growing smartphones and tablet computers, Intel continues to shake itself up in ways that would have been unthinkable several years ago,” according to the report by IC Insights. It bases that assessment on these moves Intel has made recently:

1. In November 2013, top Intel executives indicated for the first time that the company would consider using its leading-edge manufacturing plants to make chips that compete with Intel’s own product designs, such as its x86 microprocessors.

2. It added new chip designs to its x86 Atom microprocessors, including its first mobile application processors that enable connection to wireless cellular networks.

3. To help boost its chip sales, it recently decided to temporarily pay tablet makers to use some of its latest processors. The payments are expected to diminish in 2015, IC Insights notes.

4. Perhaps most importantly, the research firm says, Intel recently forged a chip-design partnership with Rockchip, a leading Chinese supplier of a competing chip design known as ARM, which currently dominates the mobile-device market.

“Breaking away from its long-held strategy of developing its own (microprocessor) designs and manufacturing them internally using industry-leading process technology are major steps for Intel,” IC Insights concluded. But it added that “it will take another year or two to judge whether Intel’s strategic changes translate into higher growth for the industry giant.”

photo by Paul Sakuma, AP

Steve Johnson Steve Johnson (225 Posts)

Steve Johnson covers the microchip industry, cyber security and the big-technology sector that includes Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Cisco Systems.