Intel Takes Aim at the Mobile Market — Once Again

With a flurry of new chips and strategies, Intel is mounting its biggest push ever into a mobile computing market that threatens one of its key business lines.

It's not the first time.

In 1996, Intel supplied the processor for the Nokia Communicator that had early features of smartphones, but it was replaced two years later by an AMD chip.

In 1999, it supplied the computer processor for the early BlackBerry, but sold the business to Marvell in 2005.

In 2004, it supplied the brains for the Palm Treo 650, an early smartphone that was discontinued four years later.

And in 2006, to its lasting regret, it passed on a request from Apple to make a processor for the iPhone, sending the Cupertino company into the arms of competitors.

Now, under new CEO Brian Krzanich, Intel is trying again. It spent billions in 2014 and will again this year to gain a mobile foothold as it introduces new Atom microprocessors for smartphones and tablets.

It's a critical move for Intel, which faces declines in the sales of personal computers, where Intel dominates as the supplier of silicon brains.

Just last week it revised a first quarter revenue estimate downward by nearly $1 billion, citing slower than expected PCs sales. The industry-watching International Data Corp. predicts a 4.9 percent fall in PC sales in 2015, with a $201 billion market in 2014 falling to $175 billion by 2019. Tablets are nibbling at the PC market and smartphone usage has soared.

Steering the giant chip company into a market dominated by well-established competitors won't be easy, said Betsy Van Hees, who covers semiconductor stocks at Wedbush Securities.

But she called Krzanich "a huge breath of fresh air. He's got a lot of work to do. It's a huge ship, and turning a ship of that size takes a lot of time. He...

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