Intel chief puts his faith in wireless
Daily Times Monitor
The head of the world’s largest chipmaker, Intel’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Barrett, has bleak news for the technology industry, reports BBC.
He has said that he cannot yet see a way out of the economic troubles that have hit the tech sector.
“The last two years have been the toughest two years the hi-tech industry has seen overall,” he told BBC News Online.
“The two-year recession has been very difficult for the industry and I don’t think anyone clearly sees what the results are going to be for the next 12 months.” The company is now investing in wireless technology, which it hopes will help boost sales. Intel makes chips and other components for computers, so is closely watched as an indicator of how the technology sector as a whole is faring.
Going wireless: Mr Barrett has faced a tough task leading Intel since he took over as CEO in 1998.
Faced with declining demand for computers and competition from other chipmakers, he has steered the company beyond the desktop with an aggressive move into the communications market.
Intel is focusing on both the computing sector and the communications sector and that includes everything from telecoms infrastructure to handheld devices like cellphones and Pocket PC devices,” he said. The company has invested $9bn in building up a communications business during possibly the worst period in the history of the telecoms industry. But Mr Barrett is still optimistic that the future lies in communications. He is now putting his money on wi-fi technology that allows machines to talk to each other without wires. The wireless home networking market has been growing rapidly, and analysts expect sales of wi-fi equipment to reach 33 million by 2006. Intel’s next-generation chip, called Centrino, comes with a wireless module built-in to take advantage of the boom in mobile computing.
Digital life: “One of the things that has kept two major sectors of the industry apart, the consumer electronic sector and the computing sector, has been the lack of broadband and the ease of setting that communication capability up,” explained Mr Barrett.
The wireless capability qualifies as broadband, is very easy to set up and it is going to have immediate uses for business travellers. But it will migrate into the home for home networking very rapidly.”
Mr Barrett was touting Intel’s wireless direction at the Consumer Electronics Show, recently held in Las Vegas. Other companies like Sony and Microsoft are also looking to wi-fi in the home as a way of bringing the consumer electronics and technology world together.
Intel hopes this trend will ensure the computer plays a key role in the home. “You’ve seen a change in the way people use computers, with the increasing use of things like digital cameras and MP3 players,” said Mr Barrett. “All of these devices are easily attachable to a PC and you can download and edit the content on a PC.” “With the sort of networking capability that we are talking about, you can take that content off the PC easily and put it on your TV set, on your stereo system or other devices in the home.”