On the heels of its announcement of the imminent layoff of 12,000 employees, this article attempts to piece together what has gone “wrong” with Intel.
Its conclusion, far from startling, is what we all know: the gradual (to sudden) irrelevance of the consumer PC market due to smart phones, the internet of things and wearable technology.
There’s no doubt the PC market is in trouble. We’ve seen shipments drop steadily over the past few years — with the steepest decline ever occurring in the last quarter of 2015 — spurred on by the rise of mobile. That leaves Intel, a company practically synonymous with the personal computing revolution, with some tough choices to make.
On top of the failing PC market, Intel also struggled to make a dent in mobile chips, which left the door open for the likes of Qualcomm. Indeed, missing out on building the iPhone’s CPU was one of former CEO Paul Otellini’s biggest regrets.
In the end, it makes more sense for Intel to position itself where the technology industry is headed rather than hold on to a dying market or duke it out with far more established competitors. And while IoT and connected wearables might seem a bit pie in the sky today, especially with activity trackers getting increasingly boring, there’s enormous potential in those segments over the next few years. As we saw at Mobile World Congress, Intel is betting big on 5G, something that both IoT and wearables will benefit from significantly.
Sorry, I don’t get it.
Perhaps I’m the first wave of “digital senior citizens,” those old fogies who will come to roost in the coming decade and who represent the “old school” of computing and who are riddled with pangs of resistance to digital evolution and the embrace of new computing technologies.
For instance, I don’t have a smart phone, I don’t plan on ever owning one, and I surely see no point in owning one. I was “raised” in the early era of personal computing in which desktop computers reigned supreme. I’m still immersed in that mentality. I feel much more comfortable when using my desktop workstation and I can’t even fathom trading it in for a teeny little screen that will allow me to surf while I’m walking down the street; a little screen that will also allow me to take movies, photos, measure my steps and breathing and sleep patterns, which will let me check traffic and text and make culinary decisions on the fly, that will guide me on a route to a location I’m unfamiliar with, which will allow me to scan a “coupon” at The Coffee Bean. Who cares about any of that? Not me.
In fact, if you were to see me on the train, you would think I’m a technology relic who doesn’t know any better and you might even be inclined to feel pity. I read a book constructed of paper and spinal binding. I wear a watch, I listen to an MP3 player that must be connected to my computer to transfer music via a hard-wire cord, and my cell phone is a $19 flip phone targeted at senior citizens which doesn’t take photos, does not receive or send text messages, and which assuredly does not allow me to surf the net. I am digital old school.
I came of technological age in an era of differentiation and specialization.
I see no glory in the blurring of tasks and abilities which seems to be what smart phones are all about. Smart phones do it all but nothing so well that it can be noted for solely for that, and that only. Smart phones are masters of all trades but I don’t enjoy being in touch with people and society constantly when I’m out and about. If I can’t check Facebook or Twitter or my blog while I’m on the bus or at the store, big deal. I enjoy the quiet solace of my disconnected moments; those disconnected moments were all I knew when I was young, why abandon them now for an annoying electronic tether that won’t let me leave this digital herd of sheep I see every day in the form of people whose lives and souls are tightly interwoven with their stupid smart phones to the point where it’s obvious many of them are completely disengaged from their environment because of that magnetic little screen.
I’m digital old school. I’ll be the last remaining desktop user.