Intel: Can an Old Chip Fit In on a New Block?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In the minds of many investors, chip giant Intel ( INTC) is considered a former highflyer, at least by today's standards.

On Wall Street, the company finds itself on the "semiconductor B-list" when it comes to media coverage. As it stands, Intel is now in the painful position looking up to the "new chips on the block": Qualcomm ( QCOM), Nvidia ( NVDA) and ARM Holdings ( ARMH). Fairly or unfairly, that's its reality. But that does not mean that's where it intends to stay.

Down But Not Out

Intel's dominance was closely tied to the rise of the PC, and it soared to whatever heights Microsoft's ( MSFT) growth would take it. But that was then. In fact, not only has Microsoft languished lately, but so has Intel's once-reliant PC partners Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Dell ( DELL). It's a new world and, like its partners, Intel is finding it difficult to fit in.

But it is not the first company to experience a midlife crisis.

As with many others before it and most recently Apple ( AAPL) and IBM ( IBM), Intel's challenge is to demonstrate that it is still relevant and offering products and services that appeal to consumers and businesses. To that end, its management has begun to address this issue in a big way by investing heavily in R&D. Investors would do extremely well to take notice and not underestimate this proud giant. Though down, it is certainly not out.


In its efforts to reinvigorate the brand, the company is due to launch one of its biggest marketing campaigns in its history -- one topping its 2003 campaign, which was arguably one of the best in history. However, this time, the company has solicited help from an old partner, HP, to promote the highly anticipated launch of its line of UltraBooks, aimed at Apple's popular MacBook series.

What's more, it should come as no coincidence that Intel's other partner, Microsoft, will release its Windows 8 operating system and its Surface tablet during that same time. It seems all three companies will reunite and band together to try to relive their former highflying days of the 90s, when PCs dominated not only homes and businesses, but also Wall Street.

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