The unthinkable has happened: When Intel looks into its future, it sees Android, not Windows, at least as far as tablet sales go. Does this mean the end of the Microsoft-Intel Wintel alliance that once ruled the world?
During Intel's earnings call yesterday, CEO Brian Krzanich made it clear that the future, as well as the present, of tablets for Intel is Android, not Windows. He said that between 80% and 90% of the 5 million tablet processors Intel shipped this year are for Android tablets, with the rest for Windows tablets. He said that Intel hopes for big growth in tablet processors, and has a goal of selling processors for 40 million tablets -- and 80% to 90% of them would be Android.
Intel Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith reiterated what Krzanich had to say about Intel betting on Android rather than Windows, Reuters reports. Smith noted that Intel 's goal of 40 million processors for tablets meant exactly that -- for tablets and not low-end PCs. He added:
"We mean 40 million tablets with Intel chips in them by the end of this year, with the majority of those being Android-based tablets."
Even with shipping processors for 40 million tablets, Intel expects to have only 15% to 20% of the tablet market in 2014. But if it was betting on Windows rather than Android tablets, its numbers would be well below that.
So does this mean the end of the long-time Wintel alliance? Yes and no. When Windows ruled the world, profits were fat for both Microsoft and Intel. Those days are gone, so in that sense Wintel is gone as well, at least when the term is used to connote a near-monopoly on the computer market.
But Intel will certainly continue to churn out processors for Windows-based machines, and that will remain its bread and butter for years to come. Like Microsoft, Intel relied on Windows for too long, and sales of mobile processors are now suffering because of it. But it's finally recognized that at least for mobile, Windows isn't the future -- Android is.