Intel said CEO Paul Otellini will step down in May, leaving behind a company that is still the world's largest chipset maker but one that has struggled to catch up in the fast-growing market for mobile chips.
Otellini, who has been with Intel for nearly 40 years and has served as CEO for the past eight, will step down as CEO and as a director of the company. Intel's board will conduct a search to choose Otellini's successor and the company said it will consider internal and external candidates for the job.
Intel noted that during Otellini's tenure the company generated cash from operations of $107 billion, and the company has maintained its dominant position in the PC market, even getting Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to switch to Intel chips for its Macs.
However, analysts and investors agree that Intel has been too slow to recognize how much of computing has gone mobile with the advent of smartphones and media tablets. Intel has been trying to catch up in the past few years, with only modest success. The company's Atom-based Medfield processor is in a handful of devices but commands nothing like the market share of mobile chip leader Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). Intel's biggest mobile deals to date have been limited to a few devices with ZTE and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobility unit.
"We all know that everyone is using smartphones and tablets now," Evercore analyst Patrick Wang told Reuters. "It's the era of Intel versus ARM, so it may be good to come in with some fresh blood and a new perspective."
Along with Qualcomm, Intel is also fending off the likes of Broadcom and MediaTek, which are moving from the low end of the smartphone market toward more high-end devices.
Intel isn't the only company struggling in mobile, however. TI said last week it intends to slash 1,700 jobs worldwide as it shifts focus away from smartphones and tablets and instead targets the embedded systems market, which the company estimates is worth $18 billion.
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