A few weeks ago I got an email from an Intel rep, trying to convince me that I should port my apps to MeeGo, their in-progress mobile platform. I chuckled at this – the thing hasn’t even shipped on anything. In what universe would it be worthwhile to invest development time in an unproven platform I’ve never even used? I didn’t give it much more thought, figuring it was email blasted and my lack of response wouldn’t be noticed.
I was wrong. I got another, more personal email a week later.
And another – right after Nokia announced they were dropping MeeGo for Windows Phone 7. This was more than I could take. With that vote of no confidence, who would be crazy enough to invest in Intel’s non-existent platform? I responded:
I know you’re doing your job, but it’s not going to happen. Intel lost in mobile. Sorry. Putting my money behind horses who have a real chance. Thanks and good luck.
I put it out of my mind. Later that day, though, my persistent friend gave me one last push:
…If history repeats itself, it will be open architecture systems and industries that will eventually dominate. It’s only a question of when. ( I think soon.) Think of where the PC market was in the early days when there was still multiple proprietary solutions competing for the market space of the home computer user. The IBM standard eventually dominated the larger market.
Even if I bought into this (I don’t), wouldn’t Android be the horse to bet on? It’s open. It’s actually in shipping products. It actually has users, right now, today.
I believe that history will repeat itself.
So, this guy, and by extension, Intel, believes that fate will grant Intel perpetual reign over all things computing, despite the fact that they can’t produce a mobile processor anyone wants to use in best-selling products? Despite the fact that they’re late to the party with their self-serving OS? Despite the fact that MeeGo, by all accounts, kind of sucks?
This is a ground floor opportunity akin to purchasing a stock just before it goes up in value.
As if my bullshit detector weren’t already burying the needle.
Keep idly watching this space (open architecture mobile computing) and you will miss the train. Intel is leveraging all it’s 30 years of OEM relationships. The number of distribution channels contained in this network is going to be staggering. It’s not one store or one manufacturer. This is the democratization of mobile computing.
I think the only one who has missed the train here is Intel. They’ve been idly watching mobile while ARM quietly cleans their clock.
Moreover, even Google has struggled to nail down successful, paid distribution. Intel thinks it can succeed by encouraging the creation of several channels? It’s like they don’t even bother studying what works and why. Apple is ruling the day by getting 100 million accounts all in one database and giving the keys for one-click buying to anyone who wants to come over. Several fragmented channels is not the way to match their power.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Translated: Intel is delusional and they’re paying me to repeat their fever dreams.
The mobile computer market is nearing a similar democratizing event horizon as the PC market did 25 years ago. Throughout 2011 Intel chips will turn up in 35 tablets from 15 brands!
How many units are going to be sold of all these many tablets? 15 brands and 35 tablets? Really? Why not just two, really, really good ones? Sounds like a recipe for an instantly fragmented market from a hardware perspective, too.
He ended by encouraging me to hop on the phone with a program manager to learn more. I haven’t taken him up on it.
Now, many of us have been in an room listening to marketing spin a tale of bullshit (“narrative”) to share with outsiders. Maybe Intel knows it’s full of it, right? I’m not so sure. I think decades of being the Processor King has genuinely convinced them that their success is inevitable.
I think they’re wrong. The game has changed. They haven’t.
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