Intel slashes marketing budgets

I noticed on Charlie Demerjian’s lovely SemiAccurate that he was having trouble getting an Ultrabook notebook to review. When I shipped myself out to IDF in September, I had already noticed that something was awry at the chip giant. In close conclave with analysts at that conference, I had already been alerted to the fact that Andy Bryant, the ex CFO, had been deputed to hang on at INTC to see how “things were going”. INTC is good at reacting to being trapped like a rat in the corner. But the problems would be immense.

The Intel spinners in the UK span me a similar message. No, Intel could not supply me with an Ultrabook to review – nor could it supply me with chips or anything else for that matter. It couldn’t even afford to buy me a drink or a bite to eat.

Now, I have tracked INTC for a long time. Over 30 years, man and man, by my estimation.  Hearing that Sean was leaving Choppedzilla at the end of January, and latterly that Paul Tortelini (sic) was leaving in May concentrated my diffused mind – quite a lot.

My mind went back to the early 1990s, when Intel had one feisty spinner at its Swindon orifice. She only spoke to the component magazines – such as Electronics Weekly – she would not give PC magazines the time of day.

Then everything changed, rapido. Andrew Grobowski (Grove), a veteran of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, when I was seven, so sentient, decided that the mantra of the day would be Intel Inside. Intel poured money into marketing, all on the premise of Intel Inside and Intel microprocessors being the “brain of a computer”.

But, according to sources close to Intel, who cannot be identified in case they get shouted at a lot, the chip giant is getting back to the pre-1991 model. It no longer wants to be involved in marketing, which is an expensive business. It doesn’t want to get involved any more in the long suffering channel.  It is a semiconductor company. And chips are, well, as cheap as cheaps.  

ARM has helped to armwrestle it into this position. The success of Apple has concentrated its mind. The edict has gone out that you must only talk to journalists if it is strictly necessary. Time costs money and guess what? Choppedzilla, like Vilesoft, is redundant too.

We wonder how many more jobs will be cut at Choppedzilla, er Chipzilla and at Vilesoft, er sorry Volesoft as Grove’s dreams of convergence actually become true.