At Intel, The CEO Changes, But Will Strategy, Too?


Now that Paul Otellini is the official CEO successor-in-waiting at Intel, the question remains: What else will change at the chip giant?

Answer: Nothing, but possibly everything. Well, that is if you read what Martin Reynolds of Gartner Group has written:

Otellini has had a profound influence on Intel--particularly on its shift to platform messaging--but now he must deal with the most critical issue facing the company: the need to find a business other than mainstream processors to drive growth.

Itanium and XScale are developing. But Itanium must grow faster, and XScale addresses a market segment where price and volume may not reach levels that will materially advance Intel's business. Intel must also address its engineers' failure to deliver to the level that its manufacturing requires. Its new processors are power-hungry, Itanium needs to accelerate against PowerPC and the company has failed to meet several production dates because of engineering problems.

Otellini, in public statements, has said that one key for Intel will be the "platformization" of the company's products. That is, relying less on GHz and more on overall platform performance, function and reliability.

Yet amid this need for Intel to grow (or change), Reynolds notes the obvious: The CEO succession at the Santa Clara, Calif., company has been well-planned, and the company--and the market--have been ready for it for some time. Otellini has already taken a big part in decisions to halt production of Intel's LCOS chip as well as its 4GHz Pentium 4 processor. As Otellini suggested to CRN, he's less interested in the kind of headlines he makes than the quality of decision-making.

So, in that regard, he'll maintain the continuity of leadership the market came to know in Andy Grove, leadership that Dan Gillmor detailed in this blog item.