Look up the word “loser” on the Internet this week and you might hear the Intel chime in the background. Or at least that’s the impression I got after reading reaction to this week’s big tech announcements.
First, the biggest PC maker HP bets all their chips on WebOS, an ARM-based operating system. Then Intel’s Meego partner Nokia dumps them for Microsoft and Windows Phone. General consensus is Intel got kicked in the soft spot – twice – and that’s after the earlier revelation that Microsoft will be making Windows work with ARM. Probably won’t cut into their core business of selling PC processors, but it’s a PR disaster.
Intel isn’t rolling over and crying about it though. In their public statement on the matter, they expressed disappointment but remained firm, stating “…Intel is not blinking on MeeGo. We remain committed and welcome Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source.” They also remind everyone that MeeGo is not phone-only, and they’re still pressing forward with netbooks and tablets.
On the other hand, Intel is a chip maker, not a whole device maker. They still need partners to put MeeGo on devices, and I’m not seeing a lot of major players lining up to do that. Even netbooks, which was their baby, is not safe as Google looks to redefine the category (by making netbooks “net-centric”) with Chrome OS.
Ironically, one of their seemingly strong friends, Apple, is the root of their problems. Apple and Intel have been in a mutually beneficial partnership since Apple switched to Intel chips for Mac. Apple has no problem buying (with cash) truckloads of expensive chips. They even switched to Intel’s firmware successor to BIOS called EFI. However, not only did Apple kick off the rushes with smartphones and tablets, which led to this week’s events, but they also co-founded ARM. You know it’s a bad week when the company that looks like your strongest friend is the one that led to you getting dumped on.
Anyway, relatively speaking, I agree with the general consensus that Intel is the biggest loser in the wake of recent events. But if Intel had a processor that can compete on the low-end with ARM designs, they’d be cleaning up right now. Sorry Intel, but you’re the reason you’re getting dumped on.
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