Intel shows clear signs it’s got the corporate collywobbles

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Intel's Paul Otellini

It dances the jitterbug…

Do not concern yourself about Intel’s second quarter – the financial wizards managed to show that things were not too bad down at the dude ranch.

Its profits dropped by four percent, but there is worse to come. I strolled round our local PC World here, and couldn’t spot a single Ultrabook. No one wants them. They’re not compelling.

As we reported yesterday, the supply chain for Ultrabooks is creaking.

Concern yourself, however, about CEO Paul Otellini’s forecast for the third quarter.

The third quarter was always, traditionally, the time when Intel crossed the Rubicon and engaged its channel partners in the back to school period when it entered the land of milk and honey. Precious little milk and honey in Otellini’s predictions this time round.

The train is hitting the buffers, as predicted. The first clear sign was when Intel managed to lose Patrick Gelsinger a couple of years back.

Forget Moore’s Law – this is the power of the consumer in action.

The microprocessor never was the brain of a computer and Intel has shilly-shallied by trying to mess with the smartphone market – so far to signally little effect at all.

Don’t expect Microsoft to pull Intel out of the fire either – the reception of Windows 8 is being treated with derision by the channel. And promoting on the Ultrabook can hardly be treated as seriously as tablets and ARM continue to make waves. Intel appears to have lost its former grip on marchitecture too – you shuttle over to its site and we get this meaningless phrase: “Inspired innovation that’s Changing the World”. Err…

Otellini told analysts: “As we enter the third quarter, our growth will be slower than we anticipated due to a more challenging macroeconomic environment.”

“Macroeconomic environment” is an interesting phrase, indeed. Figures show that the whole world economy is in stasis. Large corporations like Intel aren’t helping because they’re sitting on billions and not spending a penny or a dime for that matter. Added to that, everyone is really bored by PCs and Intel, despite its best efforts, is basically just a component manufacturer. Who needs a PC running Windows 8? Enterprises aren’t buying stuff because they, like Intel, are sitting on their pennies.

The channel feels, quite rightly, that the big vendors aren’t helping matters. A third quarter warning such as Otellini uttered is a clear sign that the writing is on the wall for dinosaurs like Intel and Microsoft. ARM servers can’t quite crunch things like X86 servers but the architecture of Intel servers is, in technology terms, in the Dark Ages.

When people ask me, as they often do, about upgrading to a new notebook, I say well there are lots of bargains around right now because the channel is attempting to obey the diktats of Microsoft and Intel and to puff and blow and get rid of old stock.

The writing may not yet be on the wall for the Unholy Trinity of Microsoft, AMD and Intel, but like every dinosaur, these large companies may find that they have become completely irrelevant, almost overnight.

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Author: Mike Magee
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