Intel Faces Its Future at Forum

Intel, which issued a first quarter earnings warning, will push forward and discuss a heap of new products at its Developer Forum in San Francisco. But rival AMD is in town to weigh in as well.

Intel might have hoped its spring Developer Forum, which arrives next week, would be all about the chips.

However, a March 3 first quarter profit warning by the company, which comes after it missed its fourth quarter 2004 earnings expectations, could darken the doorstep of the event, which kicks off on March 7 at San Franciscos Moscone Center West.

Intel said March 3 that its first quarter revenue would total between $8.7 billion and $9.1 billion, versus its prior guidance of between $9.1 billion and $9.7 billion. It cited weaker-than-expected demand and a slight market-share loss for the lower revenue.

Likely, the lower demand stems from inventory build-ups at PC makers, which Intel said bought aggressively in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Advanced Micro Devices, which gained market-share across the board during the fourth quarter—AMDs share rose almost four points to 21.4 percent, while Intels slipped about the same to 76.9 percent, Mercury Research numbers show—could be seeing more of the same, analysts said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about AMDs market-share gains.

The show will go on, however. Intel aims to use each of its twice-yearly Developer Forums in the United States—it also puts on several others all over the world—to set the stage for the next 18 months.

Thus executives are likely to use the forum as an opportunity to paint a picture of better times ahead.

"Id expect theyll continue to point at the second half of the year and say that their new micro architecture is what fixes any of these issues," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research in Cave Creek, Ariz.

Thus, next week it will discuss its latest server platform, Bensley, and detail features and performance data on several of its impending dual-core processors, including its Woodcrest server chip. The company will also unveil new plans for platforms that underpin small portable computers, called ultramobile PCs.

Company officials are also slated to outline in detail its forthcoming NGMA (next generation micro architecture for processors) and updates on its notebook and corporate desktop platforms, in addition to its work on virtualization.

Justin Rattner, the companys CTO will open the event with a keynote discussion. Executives such as Pat Gelsinger, general manager of Intels Digital Enterprise Group, and Sean Maloney, general manager of its Mobility Group, will follow with details on Intels work on desktop and servers as well as mobile devices, respectively.

Paul Otellini, Intels CEO, is not scheduled to speak at the event.

On the server side, the Bensley platform for dual-processor servers, along with a new blade server Xeon, dubbed Sossaman, will be the main topics of discussion on the x86-server front. Intels Itanium efforts will also get some air time at the event.

Bensley aims to bump performance by doubling up on busses that carry data to processors and memory and incorporating FB-DIMMs (fully-buffered dual inline memory modules).

It also includes Intels Virtualization Technology and I/O Acceleration Technology, which make it easier to divide a machine to run different software and increase data throughput, respectively. The two add-ons aim to help increase server utilization, allowing a company to using fewer servers and run them harder.

Next Page: AMD always lurking.