Robert Cringely has an interesting take today on the purchase of Wind by Intel. In essence, he is saying that Intel is gunning to take down MS with their purchase of Wind because Microsoft takes the lions share of profits from each Netbook purchase.
The problem with PC’s in general and netbooks in particular is that they aren’t very profitable for Intel campared to the good old days. Microsoft makes more profit from every Windows PC sold than does the PC manufacturer and LOTS more profit than Intel makes despite its massively dominant market share in microprocessors. And with Netbooks retailing under $400, compared to Microsoft Intel makes hardly any profit at all. So Microsoft has to die.
Understandably, this take on things is intriguing, and it definitely caught my attention. I took a look at the all the players involved as Cringely describes them, and by and large he’s got the big picture pretty well sewn up. They’d like Android to continue to propagate out to devices that could carry their chipset on mobile computing devices, but also hope to hedge their bets on that concept by introducing Moblin to the mix.
I was talking to John Furrier about the whole ‘Intel gunning for Microsoft’ angle, and he had a somewhat unique take on it.
“If Windows is the bottleneck for this new Linux-based paradigm then that’s Microsoft’s fault not Intel’s gesture of competition,” said John. “The Google Android end of the equation is more an indicator that a more efficient, lower cost operating system (i.e., the cloud) is soon to arrive and Intel is making it’s bet on that market trend.”
In other words, the point that John’s making (and sounds more plausible to me) is that Intel (much like Microsoft is with Azure) is making the bet on the cloud, but Microsoft isn’t moving fast enough for Intel. As a result, Intel is turning it’s lonely eyes toward Google. It isn’t a matter of wanting Microsoft to die because they make more money than Intel – it’s a matter of following Intel’s vision of the future.
A vision of the future, incidentally, is something that Intel’s likely to have a much better grasp on than Microsoft. Intel, as we talked about earlier in the week, works with developers (especially young developers) with a vengeance lately. Working to build a community focused on improving that academic focus is part of what’s giving Intel this strategic edge.
It makes for an interesting and captivating drama to think that suddenly Intel has developed a deep-seated jealousy at the success Microsoft is enjoying over Netbooks. Ultimately, I think it’s less about the drama and more about Intel being in touch with the reality of where computing is headed.