In a recent interview with BusinessWeek, Intel CEO Paul Otellini covered a number of topics ranging from the cost of building a chip-manufacturing plant, to producing SoCs for smartphones, to the competition between Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. But there's a point where they start talking about a post-PC era, and Otellini clearly acknowledges that the industry has moved away from an era of personal computers, to an era of personal computing. Still, that doesn't mean the desktop is dead.
"That means that there are going to be computers all around us and in different form factors," he said. "The PC is not going to go away anytime soon, if ever. It’s going to continue to evolve. Right now, it’s the most powerful tool you can have, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be tablets or phones or even connected cars. The beauty of all these things is, if you get it right, the sum total of them has more value than the individual devices. That’s the model that we’re working toward."
The interview then moves on to talk about the pace of technological change. Otellini calls it evolution, describing the move from mainframes to minicomputers to the desktop PC. Intel servers have taken on supercomputing characteristics while the PC form factor has shrunk from "brick" to "ultrathin." Our phones have even gotten "smart" -- all thanks to the evolution of the microprocessor.
"Had we not done the basic work in microprocessors, for example, none of this would be possible," he said. "While there are some really interesting moments where you see great leaps forward -- and I would put the iPhone in that category -- it’s not like it was the first thing. I mean, you see this being argued out in the IP courts today: of who had a phone that was similar to that. Who had swipe gesturing 10 years ago, those kinds of things."
BusinessWeek brought up the subject of Intel's late entry into the ARM-dominated smartphone sector with its own SoC. Otellini said that part of the "oh gosh Intel missed the boat" argument stems from the analyst community which, as he states, "has its own agenda." Critics are seemingly fixated on ARM's dominance rather than focusing on Intel's success with high-end chips in data centers.
"They may be long on something and short on something else," he mused. "We tend not to worry about that. We just tell our story to them. There have been believers all along. They have made a lot of money, and the people that invested in us at the trough at whatever it was, $12, a few years ago have more than doubled their money, and they’re happy campers."
He goes on to describe Intel's entry into the smartphone sector is a marathon, not a sprint. "The most important thing for us is to continue to grow our presence in computing, in personal computing, and in the data center, and then over time get stronger and stronger in devices," he added.
To read the full interview, head here.