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Intel to stop motherboard production

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In what could be a sign of the times, chip maker Intel has announced that they will be slowing down production of motherboards for the traditional PC over the next three years, and will instead, focus all their efforts on tablets, smartphones and ultrabooks.

Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini (image: Intel)

“We disclosed internally today that Intel’s Desktop Motherboard Business will begin slowly ramping down over the course of the next three years. As Intel gradually ramps down its motherboard business we are ramping up critical areas of the desktop space including integration of innovative solutions for the PC ecosystem such as reference design development, NUC and other areas to be discussed later,” Intel said in a statement.

The company added that the staff working on motherboards will be redistributed throughout the company in other roles. “The internal talent and experience of twenty years in the boards business (which until recently has been largely focused on desktop tower type designs) is being redistributed to address emerging new form factors – desktop and mobile – and to expand Intel’s Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD) work and enable our partners to develop exciting new computing solutions.”

The slowing down of production will not have an effect on the company’s processor microarchitecture, Haswell, as Intel said that it will be available in normal volumes and quantities for the fourth generation Core i7 products. After that, they will rely on other makers such as AMD and MSI to outfit their products.

“The Desktop segment continues to be a major focus for Intel with hundreds of products across many subsegments and applications. Intel expects the broad and capable DT motherboard ecosystem (ie Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and many others) to fully support Intel’s growing roadmap and large worldwide customer base. Intel’s Desktop Motherboard Business will not develop any new Intel branded desktop motherboards after completion of Haswell-based 4th gen Core launch products in 2013 and will continue to support all products sold through the warranty period included with the specific product,” the statement further explained.

The news does not come as a large blow to the industry, as Intel was not a major player in the motherboard space. Other companies such as Asus and Gigabyte have the markets cornered and supply most of the motherboards found in retail PCs.

With the technology space being fiercely competitive, it makes sense for Intel to focus all their effort on tablets, smartphones and ultrabooks as there has been a shift in the industry towards these products.

And gamers should not be concerned about the next generation of consoles, as there are strong rumours that AMD will be supplying the motherboards for the next Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor


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