Intel’s CEO Choice Fuels Debate Over Chip Maker’s Future

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-05-04 Print this article Print

Others are not so sure. For a company facing such a large number of changes and challenges, now was the time to bring in a fresh perspective, some analysts said.

“We view the selection of Mr. Krzanich as the company staying the course and not a positive development,” Piper Jaffray’s Richard wrote, saying that Intel “is doubling down on the manufacturing roadmap and does not address the issues the company is facing.”

"An external candidate might have been a better choice—with no negative reflection on Brian—simply because of the juncture Intel is at with what's happening in the PC market and the need to take major action outside of PCs," Cody Acree, an analyst at Williams Financial Group, wrote. "Brian may very well come in and make those same very difficult dramatic choices, but it's less likely. Maybe an external candidate with a fresh set of eyes without being beholden to any legacy business division, personnel or strategy might have been better."

For his part, Krzanich is saying that he understands the shift to mobile and has outlined a strategy with Intel’s board of directors to address it.

“You’ll see actions over the next couple of months that will start to unfold what that strategy is,” Krzanich said, according to Bloomberg. “We see that the world is becoming more mobile. We see that the growth is moving towards those areas, and we believe we have the right assets, right product capabilities to go into those at a much, much faster rate.”

There are a handful of tablets and smartphones that currently run on Intel chips, but company officials expect those numbers to grow rapidly this year and into 2014 with the launch of such systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) as “Haswell”—the next-generation Core processor—and “Bay Trail” and “Merrifield,” both of which are Atom chips.

Piper Jaffray’s Richard is not so sure.

“We believe the rise of mobile and the decline of the PC has radically altered the semiconductor landscape,” he wrote. “In this transition, Intel has lost its near monopoly status, as PCs are no longer the growth engine of the semiconductor industry. Mobile and ARM have ascended to dominate the microprocessor landscape. We believe the mobile ecosystem wholeheartedly rejects x86 and by extension Intel.”

However, those looking for a more radical approach than Krzanich were heartened by the elevation of Renee James, currently is executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Software and Services Group, to company president, and possibly setting her up as Krzanich’s eventual successor.

“This is an important promotion, and it clearly signals the board wants to make Intel a much broader company, with increased emphasis/reliance on software and services,” Gold wrote.

James has been instrumental in building Intel software business, both through internal development and through acquisitions of such companies McAfee and Wind River.


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