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'Intel Inside' Needs Intel Outside

Intel's Ultrabook Convertible design is a step in the right direction, but it's still relying on OEMs to make and sell the finished hardware.

This has become nothing less than an existential crisis for Intel. Even Microsoft has acknowledged that, to compete, it has to make its own hardware, the Microsoft Surface. But if the Surface fails -- early indications are mixed, Business Insider writes -- that may well dissuade Intel from taking this necessary step.

It shouldn't.

Despite its problems, Intel is a big name brand in the minds of many consumers. To remain one, however, Intel needs to be a brand people can go into a store and buy, not an ingredient brand but a creator of leading-edge products that can compete on their own terms against Apple, Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), and even its own OEMs.

Ted Turner, whom I was lucky enough to interview once in his heyday, called his early autobiography Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way. It's time for Intel to answer that question once and for all.

The advice here is to lead.

At the time of publication, the author has positions in INTC, AAPL and ARMH

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