Intel Corp. (INTC)’s failure to break into the mobile-phone business is due to a lack of prioritization rather than an inability to make and sell the chips, President Renee James said.
“There’s a difference between not being capable of it, and not doing it,” James said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters.
James, 49, was promoted to president, the No. 2 position at the world’s largest semiconductor maker, when Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich was appointed in May. Under the new leadership, Intel has started to introduce products as soon as they’re ready, rather than via scheduled rollouts, she said.
Intel has been struggling to catch up in the wireless market as consumers shift away from laptops and and desktops to smartphones and tablets to check e-mail, browse the Web and access entertainment. Investors have been let down by Intel’s lack of progress in mobile and need to see concrete results, said Patrick Wang, an analyst at Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR)
“Intel has been talking about this for so long,” said Wang, who rates Intel stock underweight, the equivalent of a sell. “People are once again disillusioned.”
While Intel took 92 percent of the market for personal-computer chips in the second quarter, it’s still playing catch-up in wireless devices, with a 3.2 percent slice of tablet-processor sales, according to researcher IDC. Overtaking Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s chip-design efforts will prove difficult, Wang said.
Shares of Santa Clara, California-based Intel rose 1.7 percent to $24.18 at 1:23 p.m. in New York. The stock is up 15 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 29 percent gain in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
The introduction in September of Quark, a range of processors aimed at wearable devices such as smartwatches, is an example of the departure from a regular schedule set by Intel and the PC and server industries, which updated their products together.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a big change,” she said.
Mobile-phone shipments are projected to increase by 7.3 percent this year, fueled by demand for smartphones, while tablet unit sales will grow an estimated 59 percent, according to researcher IDC. PC shipments are forecast to drop 9.7 percent worldwide, IDC said in August.
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