Intel needs to build PC buzz at IDF, say analysts

After lowering revenue forecast last week, Intel should build excitement

Intel needs to generate a lot of excitement at its annual developers conference this week -- not just around the company but also around the whole PC industry.

After Intel lowered its third-quarter revenue forecast last Friday, industry analysts said the world's largest chip maker will be walking a fine line between trying to create buzz around the ailing PC market and trying not to sound nervous and defensive about it.

"Phones and tablets have been getting the lion's share of press, and Intel needs to change this," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. "Intel needs to show that the PC still has room to grow in advanced and forward-looking usage models. There are many problems the PC can still solve, but with Microsoft focused on thin clients and phones, it is up to Intel to carry the water."

Intel executives will have their hands full, analysts say, because while the company needs to show that the PC is alive and well, it also has to demonstrate that it will be able to branch out to smartphones, tablets and anything else that's coming down the road.

The company is having its annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco this week. The first keynote comes Tuesday, with the conference running through Thursday.

The timing is good, because lately there hasn't been much good news for the PC industry, which has been repeatedly hammered by the growing popularity of tablets and several years of a slow economy.

And those forces have been affecting chip makers too. Last month, industry analyst firm IHS iSuppli downgraded its 2012 forecast for the global semiconductor market because of slumping economic conditions and chip revenue.

The company reported that the worldwide chip market, which had been expected to grow by less than 3% for the year, now is projected to decline by 0.1%

But this week, Intel, speaking to developers from around the world, will have a chance to polish its image and build some good buzz.

"Intel is the strongest standard bearer for the PC industry, with the possible exception of Microsoft," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. "So if anyone is going to, and needs to, defend the PC industry, it's Intel.... The message has to be that you have solutions for whatever anyone wants, phones, tablets, PCs, etc."

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