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Commentary: Strong vendor, strong challenges

IBM has worked hard to expand its business in areas such as servers, networking and wireless, but the desktop remains its most crucial battlefield.

By Martin Reynolds, Gartner Analyst

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.

See news story:
Intel makes strides with Tualatin chips
One of its largest initiatives is its Macroprocessing campaign--the application of low-cost, high-performance technology to computing on a grand scale. Intel believes that Macroprocessing can open up a whole new realm of information technology that would allow managers to understand their businesses in more detail and in a more timely fashion than ever before.

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 registration required.)

Entire contents, Copyright ? 2001 Gartner, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein represents Gartner's initial commentary and analysis and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Positions taken are subject to change as more information becomes available and further analysis is undertaken. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof.