I just don't know if it will matter. I don't know if it will move the needle.
That's why, although I don't feel sorry for Intel, the subtext of the whole call felt a little Nixonian to me in the way that Intel is basically being reduced to a pitiful, helpless giant by the North Vietnamese, oops, by Arm Holdings.
In the end, forget the political implications of that statement. Intel, like the U.S., is and will remain the strongest company in the industry. No one is going to touch its manufacturing prowess or its insight into how to build fabs, make them work and put out valuable chips for everything from the phablet to the data center.
It's just that all of that power and all of that miniaturization isn't driving sales the way it did. Microsoft's (MSFT) new software didn't make us throw away our personal computers. Intel is not the phone chipmaker. It is a personal computer chipmaker with chips for other businesses just like Microsoft is a personal computer software maker with software for other businesses.And that's really the story, isn't it? The inventor of the chip for personal computers that blew away mainframes, midrange and minis just doesn't have the chips the big customers want for their smartphones and their tablets, or they haven't been able to win over those customers even though they are fabulous at what they do. Come to think of it, I do feel bad for them. But that's not a reason that the stock should go higher. If I want that kind of low-single-digit growth with a possible strengthening second half, I can get it from any industrial company. Yes, it is true that Intel has a higher dividend than most of those companies and a better balance sheet, but then again, try as it might, it cannot convince me that it has more leverage to a better economy than literally half of the Dow Jones averages, including Procter & Gamble (PG), Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and Cisco (CSCO). It is, alas, simply another stock, nothing special, just a good manufacturer levered to a part of the economy that has passed its prime without another part ready yet to take its place. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, is long CSCO.
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