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TheStreet Open House

Intel Missed Mobile Worse Than Facebook Did

Stocks in this article: INTCFBHPQAAPLGOOG

For different reasons, this dynamic applies to Intel. What's sad is that Intel did not have to dig quite as deep as Facebook to see the future. Smartphone adoption took off like a rocket.

That much became obvious shortly after Steve Jobs wowed an audience with Apple's (AAPL) original iPhone.

I riff understatedly (yes, that's a word) when I say Intel missed the train. The whole affair has been nothing short of pathetic. You expect delays, rookie mistakes and bombast from HP, Facebook and Steve Ballmer at Microsoft (MSFT), but not from Intel.

CEO Paul Otellini has said that his company needs to produce such "compelling" silicon that, as Apple makes decisions, it would not be able to "ignore" Intel. That's from the firm's investor day back in May. Yes, May.

We won't know until 2013 if Intel can compete in the mobile space with companies such as Qualcomm (QCOM), Broadcom (BRCM) and a whole host of others.

If Intel can't become a mobile player and the company loses any or all of its Macbook business, it will be stuck latched onto Windows 8 and the PC market. As such, Microsoft might be creating a town full of tech losers that, shockingly, could include Intel.

On Friday, Eric Savitz of Forbes relayed a note from FBR Capital analyst Craig Berger.

Berger cut estimates on INTC, in part, because of poor initial feedback for Win8 devices, with any inventory overhangs likely muting the Win8 launch. While PC chip stocks are already low, there seem to be no identifiable catalysts in place for some time to come ...

As Facebook quickly and credibly salvages its mobile missteps, Intel might end up associated with a massive series of inventory write downs in 2013. I'm not sure its reputation, various hobbies and what's turning into a massive yield (4%, as of this writing,) can keep INTC above $20 without some magic happening ASAP.

Investors have been burnt one too many times by companies who lost their way and became value traps.

At the time of publication the author was long FB and P.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.
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