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New Intel CEO Faces Mobile Battle

Intel on Thursday announced that Brian Krzanich, the chipmaker’s current COO, will replace Paul Otellini as CEO, effective May 16.

The news arrived only hours after the company released data to tout its forthcoming Haswell chips’ improved graphics power and energy management. The new processors have been widely linked to the sagging PC industry’s chance for resurgence, and to Intel’s continued dominance. But with Intel playing from behind on the mobile scene while also feeling pressure on its server business, Krzanich will face several challenges as he takes the reins.

In a statement, Krzanich emphasized Intel’s desire to infiltrate the mobile market. “We have amazing assets, tremendous talent, and an unmatched legacy of innovation and execution,” he said. “I look forward to working with our leadership team and employees worldwide to continue our proud legacy, while moving even faster into ultra-mobility, to lead Intel into the next era.”

This focus on mobility is nothing new. Tablets and smartphones, most of which run on ARM processors, have cut deeply into the market for traditional PCs. Last fall, prior to the release of Windows 8, Intel representatives argued that thin form factors, low power consumption and robust graphics performance were prerequisites to the PC’s resurgence, and that the company’s Ultrabook line was intended to deliver precisely these qualities. The Ultrabooks that followed, however, have failed so far to reverse the declining sales of traditional computers, making Haswell one of several key factors — Windows Blue, Microsoft’s upcoming update to Windows 8, is another — in the PC market’s future.

Network Computing

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