Intel President Renee James recently sat down for a video interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Rolfe Winkler. In this interview, Ms. James discussed a wide range of issues around Intel’s computing strategy, anything from mobile to what’s coming up at IDF in September. You can watch the entire video below:
Ms. James has been with Intel for 26 years, and worked closely with former Intel CEO Andrew Grove. She recently was named Intel President, and directs company-wide strategy with CEO Brian Krzanich. She noted that Intel wants people to know that “we love computing”, and aim to serve every segment, not just PCs.
Intel’s new focus is on mobile, especially on the Atom power line for ultramobility. There will be increased efforts on Android, with an equalization of efforts between Windows and Android. Everyone currently in this market space has advantages, and Intel’s is design and integrated manufacturing, the combination of process technology, and communications. It’s the integration that counts; the combination of all these elements that makes Intel the winner in the market.
In many ways Intel has led the exploration into mobility. James noted that “sometimes you don’t always know about the next thing being a disruption….it wasn’t the form factor, it was how people using computing changed – touch, voice, app models, all of that shifted. That combination with the new form factor really changed the way we look at computing.”
Intel’s premier developer conference is coming up September 10-12. There will be a lot of new things to see and talk about there as far as mobility, where Intel believes computing is heading, and future predictions on computer/human interactions.
Atom is a smaller, less expensive chip. James noted that the Intel point of view with this chip was that you didn’t need all the features and performance you need in more expensive chips since Atom is prmiarliy for phones, but now as mobile devices are becoming more important and prevalent, it’s also taken on more importance. Intel is building parts of Atom that come all the way up to the Core family with greater compatibility. All new Atom products run Windows.
On transparent computing:
People want their apps to perform no matter what platform they might be using. This aligns with the “Internet of Things” mentality; consumers want lower cost devices, but are also looking for compatiability with the rest of the software ecosystem.
On the shift to a more mobile computing ecosystem:
Mr. Winkler posed an interesting question: “As PCs are increasingly replaced by mobile devices, how do you navigate that transition?” Ms. James answered that Intel does not believe that PCs will ever be replaced, rather, different form factors will continue to emerge with the performance of the core product line in mobile devices. There are also different modes of usability in form factors such as the tablet, PC, 2 in 1’s, etc. It’s not a “one for one” replacement; James noted that these form factors are refreshing the market.
On form factors:
James noted there is a segmentation of tablets – the ones on the higher price point side generally offer more performance, and the ones on the lower price point side offer less. Intel has created Atom products that scale all the way up and down this ladder, with Haswell core-based products as well. These form factors overlap with price points, and some cannibalization is expected, but Intel is looking to create devices at every price point for more customer availability, opportunities, and innovation.
On Moore’s Law
When asked if Intel sees a finite ceiling as to how small chips can be produced, Ms. James replied that “we don’t see that”. There is more performance in a lower power envelope, and Intel has moved ahead multiple generations, becoming much more competitive in the mobile landscape.
How small can the chips actually get? James replied that Intel has “line of sight” for a couple more generations, but after that the future is unclear.
The data center arm of Intel is an important business, currently holding a 90% market share and bringing in substantial profits for Intel. Mr. Winkler asked about avoiding server upsets, and Ms. James noted that there is a market shift with new competitors, and the way you react initially is how the dynamic is going to go. She mentioned that “it’s good for Intel to have competitors” because it makes the company as a whole better. Intel is not waiting for the industry to change, and has already announced SOC server products based on the Atom family.
On Intel television
What does Intel plan to bring in the television space? James replied that just like everything else, television has gone digital. It’s delivered over an IP network, which is an opportunity for data to be broadcast to devices. Intel can bring tech integration and leadership to this area, making it more cost effective. It’s also a new market opportunity and area of growth.
Exciting times for Intel
This interview with Ms. James was extremely informative, and gave a great overview of where Intel is headed. Be sure to register for IDF 2013 and hear more from Intel leadership on the future of the company.