Intel has worked hard to expand its business in areas such as servers, networking and wireless, but the desktop remains the company's most crucial battlefield.
Intel always has a spread of new products visible through the medium term as it enhances and upgrades its processors. The introduction of Itanium is a key initiative, and Tualatin is important, too. But Intel's current challenge is moving the Pentium 4 into the IT mainstream as the Pentium III processor reaches the end of its planned life cycle on the desktop.
Gartner sees this challenge as one of convincing IT managers that the Pentium 4 platform can deliver long-term buying stability without the marketing challenges of the current Rambus designs. Gartner believes that Intel's next-generation chipset, if properly positioned and managed, can deliver on this requirement and looks forward to Intel's exposition of its road map.
On the broader front, Intel faces its toughest competition ever from Advanced Micro Devices and is caught in the jaws of a slowing market, where lower prices are required to drive growth. The bottom line is that Intel faces some of its toughest challenges since the dog days of the 286 processor, and it needs to marshal all of its resources to grow its business.
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Intel makes strides with Tualatin chips
Gartner believes that investment in real-time business management will be a key strategic initiative for enterprises, and Intel's intent is to make Macroprocessing a foundation technology in pursuit of this goal.
(For related commentary on evaluating processors when shopping for a PC, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)
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