Intel Missed a Chance to Make Processors for the iPhone: Otellini

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-05-18 Print this article Print

Analysts have acknowledged the tremendous growth of Intel during Otellini’s eight-year tenure as CEO, but many of criticized his slow response to the rapid shift toward mobility in the industry, a change that seemed to catch a number of the top tech vendors—such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft—off guard. That has left Intel playing catchup to smaller rival ARM.

Brian Krzanich, Intel’s former chief operating officer who replaced Otellini as CEO, said in a speech May 16 during the company’s annual shareholders meeting that the mobile space will be a key focus for him and the company going forward.

“I don’t think we can start a discussion like that without first, having a quick discussion about one of the key real trends that have occurred over the last couple of years, and that’s really this ultra-mobile and move to tablets and phones that has occurred in our industry,” Krzanich said, noting that there already are 12 Intel-powered smartphones selling in 22 countries and 15 tablets that run both Windows and Google “We see that we’ve been a bit slow to move into that space, but what I want to show you today is that we see the movement, we’re well positioned already and the base of assets that we have will allow us to really grow in this area at a much faster rate moving forward.”

Still, Otellini seemed disappointed in the missed opportunity with the iPhone (although there have been on-and-off rumors that the two companies have discussed the idea of Intel making iPhone chips over the past year or so). There was no way to predict the impact the iPhone would have on the industry, but it was still a hard lesson learned, he told The Atlantic.

"The lesson I took away from that was, while we like to speak with data around here, so many times in my career I've ended up making decisions with my gut, and I should have followed my gut," Otellini said. "My gut told me to say yes."


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