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Intel CEO praises iPad, throws down gauntlet

Chief Executive Paul Otellini says his company has every intention of ultimately winning the tablet category.

Intel's chief executive, Paul Otellini, took a minute at the start of today's earnings conference call to praise Apple's iPad, but he said Intel has every intention of ultimately winning the category.

Intel executives have made many statements about the tablet category in past conference calls. But these were typically about the category being new and only "additive" to the much larger PC market. This time Otellini made a uncharacteristically strong statement, seemingly in response to investor worries that Intel is not addressing the category aggressively enough.

"I know the big question on everyone's mind is how Intel will respond to new computing categories where Intel currently has no presence, specifically tablets...We think tablets are exciting and fully welcome their arrival. Apple has done a wonderful job reinventing the category," he said during Tuesday's conference call. "Will they impact PC sales? Sure, at the margin they probably will," he said.

Then Otellini got down to business. "We will use all of the assets at our disposal to win this segment," he said, adding that a number of tablet products will come to market "in the coming months and quarters" based on Windows, Android, and Meego operating systems "across a variety of form factors and price points."

Intel Oak Trail technology for tablets.
Intel Oak Trail technology for tablets. Intel

Intel saw the same kind of market encroachment when Netbooks were introduced three years ago, Otellini said. "Three years later, both the PC and Netbook market segments have grown substantially. And we believe that will happen again with tablets."

"We have very good silicon with Oak Trail," he said, referring to the Intel Atom chip targeted at tablets. He said Intel chips provide the performance to do "full multitasking," adding that for enterprise customers, Windows capability is important, and Intel-based tablets would be strong there.

Intel will also ultimately integrate 3G and 4G--so-called baseband--wireless broadband silicon from Infineon into its Atom chip. Intel recently announced that it was acquiring Infineon's wireless unit.