"The Internet is our growth engine. The Internet is the medium for communication, entertainment, for access to information," Barrett said in his keynote speech at the Network+Interop networking industry trade show here. "It is growing dramatically and will continue to grow dramatically."
Barrett, whose company builds processors for PCs, servers, handheld devices and networking equipment that speeds the Net, scoffed at recent news reports that interest in the Net is waning. Every two minutes, he said, there are 1,400 new auctions on eBay, $11,000 worth of products sold on Amazon.com, 1,500 new cell phones bought and 8,300 searches conducted on Google.
Despite the rocky economic climate, Barrett struck a positive tone as he touted the convergence between computing devices, phone services and the Internet--and the need for tech companies to continue to innovate with new products.
"We're in a strong recessionary period in the U.S.," he said. "The pace of technology never slows down. The number of (customer) orders (does). But you have to continue to invest in technology to be successful. Technology does not recognize recessions."
"It's going to get better," he said of the slow economy. "The reason is we have a digital world ahead of us. It's not going to slow down. If you look at the number of Internet users, computers, PDAs (personal digital assistants) sold each year, the number continues to go up."
To drive the point home, Barrett demonstrated high-definition television over the Internet. Barrett also demonstrated a few products, including Intel's "home gateway," a new home appliance that connects PCs and other consumer electronic devices together, so they can all communicate and share the same Net connection. The product, for example, allows people to distribute audio, video and other Net content in multiple devices throughout the home.
During a press conference after the speech, Barrett said Intel continues to see sales weakness in its communications and networking business, but the company expects a seasonal uptick in its computer processor business during the second half of the year.