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Intel CEO remarks on Netbooks, Windows 7

During Intel earnings conference call Tuesday, CEO Paul Otellini talked about notebook vs. Netbook growth and Windows 7 adoption in business, among other topics.

During Intel's earnings conference call on Tuesday, CEO Paul Otellini talked about the growth of notebook PCs versus Netbooks, and Windows 7 adoption in business, among other topics.

Otellini was quick to trumpet the fact that its mainstream notebook business beat Netbook growth. "We saw the sequential unit growth rate of notebook processors and chipsets actually exceed the growth rate of Atom processors and chipsets," he said.

Later in the call, Otellini said: "While Atom and Netbooks are important growth drivers for us, our traditional notebook business remains one of the primary drivers of revenue growth and we expect that to continue in the future."

Otellini, again in the call, expanded on this theme, adding that while Netbooks should see significant growth in 2010 over 2009, the notebook market is flourishing. "We're still bullish (on Netbooks) but what we've seen this quarter though is that the notebook market is alive and well and Netbooks are market-additive for Intel and the industry," he said. "Market-additive" is code for an ancillary product, not a mainstream product.

Intel CEO expects more attractive ultra-thin laptops in the coming months
Intel CEO expects more attractive ultra-thin laptops in the coming months Intel

He also addressed the new category of ultrathin laptops, which are inexpensive laptops--between $500 and $900--that slot in above Netbooks. "The bulk of the units that have shipped to date were single-core versions of the products. Late last quarter, we introduced the dual-core version of those products. You'll see a number of laptops show up in retail with the dual-core versions for the holiday season...more ergonomically designed, thinner, lighter."

Responding to analyst questions, Otellini also addressed Windows 7 adoption in business. "We see a lot of interest at corporations around Win 7 and the new Nehalem-based (PC models)," he said, referring to Intel's new Nehalem-based Core "i" series of processors. "They're made for each other in terms of the performance and power management and security characteristics."

He continued: "I would expect that the (corporate Windows 7) evaluation process will happen over the rest of this year and we'll start seeing corporate purchases on a refresh basis begin in 2010."

Here's a rundown of other comments:

  • Consumer segment strong: "The strength in our business remains primarily consumer driven with broad-based demand across all geographies."--Otellini.
  • Growth phase: Refuting a question about Intel becoming "smaller" next year: "We're finished with the cutting phase of our efficiency efforts and now in the growth phase of that efficiency efforts."--Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith.
  • Inventory hubs: At large PC customers, component inventories levels are at roughly half of the peak level late last year and approximately flat throughout 2009. Intel has a better handle on inventories now using a mechanism called inventory hubs. "We hold the inventory for our large OEM customers, who then pull inventory only if needed...This give us increased visibility into real-time production levels."--Otellini
  • Nehalem server processors: (dual-processor). "It's not so much an upgrade cycle that's driving the volume right now, it's economics of the data center. People are looking at swapping eight to nine older-generation servers for a single Nehalem server."--Otellini.