Intel resigns itself to a future without the letter "i"

Opinion In his departing notes to shareholders last night, Intel CEO Paul Otellini was remarkably upbeat about a boat that is increasingly beginning to resemble the now famous Itanic.

Delivering its financial results, as we reported here,  Otellini reckoned that its investment in chips for tablets and smartphones would pay off in the next quarter.

That seems highly unlikely to this observer. If Intel is winning deals with smartphone and tablet manufacturers, I am sure that we hacks would have been bombarded with press releases galore.

We haven’t even had a whiff of huge smartphone and tablet wins. The best Intel could do at Computex 2012 was show us a phone that booted an Intel chip. Not really quite good enough, Chipzilla.

Ultrabooks have been a failure because no-one wants to pay over the odds for a machine that’s not particularly thin and is particularly expensive. Intel doesn’t want technical hacks like us to review them because it fears we will find them wanting. They are wanting. They are wanting people to buy them. And we’re not.

Intel’s economic model looks more than a little broken – particularly so because it has relied on chip prices staying high, and because it costs billions to make fabrication plants. Now, Microsoft has signalled it will try give its touch technology a boost by cutting prices on Windows 8.

That is not good news for Intel. To survive, it has to make loads of money in order to finance its fabs and also, we might note in passing, to pay the 105,000 people that work for Chipzilla.

According to Otellini, yesterday, Haswell – or should we call it Hasbeen – will save Intel’s bacon.  The numbers just don’t add up, Mr Otellini.  We still are waiting to see who the head hunters herd into the Satan Clara company to replace the multi-millionaire and to shepherd the flocks.