Destiny deals cards but while it sometimes deals Aces in the poker game of technology, in the case of both Intel and Microsoft the year 2012 has really been a horrible year for the Great Satan of Chips and the Great Satan of Software, respectively. The Ace of Spades, it comes to mind.
At CES 2012, Intel had nothing to say to TechEye. Amidst the jingling and the jangling the best it could come up with was automotive stuff – that is to say cars. Ultrabooks in 2012 started with a whimper and ended with a whimper and a snivel.
Microsoft had little to say at CeBIT 2012 in March – we snuck into its press conference in the Messe and it told tales of Windows 8, fantastic chimaeric tales where its famous “interface” could bridge two, three or even four dimensions. But it lacked the famous “apps”.
At Computex 2012 we gazed in awe as the dancing girls tried to ramp up the volume on both bothies (that’s Scottish for booths) to persuade the world+dog that this really was a great thing. You chatted to the guys and guyettes at the sharp end of life – the Asusteks of this world – and you realised PDQ (pretty damn quickly) that Taiwan felt that both Microsoft and Intel had overplayed their cards.
Somehow, without meaning to, we made it to IDF 2012 – a forlorn backyard depopulated by people who didn’t want Microsoft and Intel’s money any more. The whole world+dog had moved on to tablets and jerky attempts by the Great Trinity of the X86 world – oh yeah AMD compris – met with bellylaughs.
To lose one executive is natural. To lose two is unnatural. But to lose three is to lose. Sean Maloney departs for pastures new at the end of January 2013 – he will be sorely missed, because actually he is quite effective. Paul “don’t cry for me” Otellini will leave Intel in May 2013, is part of the very famous INTC succession plan.
While the internally blinkered worlds of INTC and MSFT continue, the outside world has changed radically. Ultrabooks are way too expensive. Microsoft Tablets are risible if you’re talking hard cash. Intel and Microsoft have lost their way. Atoms are smashed by other wannabes.
Intel can probably make a mint out of healthcare and Microsoft can possibly make a mint out of servers for a while. But the grand behemoths have fallen, in all certainty. No one in their right mind would buy an Ultrabook nor would a sane person buy an overpriced tablet too.
The goliaths have been slain by the small guys, but because no-one likes change, it is hard for the giants to realise this, even though the stone has finally hit their foreheads. Giants take time to fall, like empires. The X86 is dead. Long live convergence and the small guys.
Here shown is a CD Intel gave me at an IDF in 2000. Note well the apostrophe between PC and s. It is non-grammatical. The contents are risible, too…