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Intel To Shutter Desktop Motherboard Unit

Intel's business unit that makes desktop motherboards will begin winding down its operations over a three-year period, according to information given to the press this week.

An Intel spokesperson told PC World that the company will begin wrapping up its desktop motherboard business when its code-named "Haswell" CPU ships. Sales of Haswell CPUs, which offer power-saving advantages for ultrabook computers, are expected "to qualify" during this first quarter, but press accounts expect products with the new CPUs to appear sometime this summer.

"Separately, we started production on our next generation micro-architecture product, code-named Haswell, which we expect to qualify for sale in the first quarter," stated Stacy J. Smith, Intel's senior vice president and chief financial officer, in a released statement (PDF).

Intel will continue to honor existing motherboard product warrantees, the company said.

Last week, Intel reported fourth-quarter revenue of $13.5 billion, down 3% compared with last year's fourth quarter. Smith pointed to the tablet market as cutting into PC sales and added that there was a "weakness in the enterprise server market segment." Intel has been investing more of its research and development funds into datacenter products, ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones, according to Smith.

Consulting and analyst firm Gartner confirmed the effect of tablet sales on the PC market in its fourth-quarter market analysis issued this month. Gartner indicated that the 90.3 million PCs shipped during the quarter represented a 4.9 percent decrease compared with Q4 2011 PC shipments. Moreover, Gartner pointed to tablets as responsible for the drag, indicating that tablets were replacing PCs, not supplementing them.

Going forward, Intel will continue to supply the components for motherboards built by other companies. Intel expects that desktop motherboards will continue to get produced by companies such as Asus, Gigabyte and MSI, among others, according to Intel spokesperson comments published by CNET. Intel has produced its own desktop motherboard products for about 19 years.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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