Do consumers really get all fired up about buying a Hewlett Packard ( HPQ) or Dell ( DELL) laptop?

Having a chip here or there in an Apple product does nothing for Intel. Owning the PC market does less.

Granted, the PC group saw single-digit revenue increases last quarter. Data center revenue was up 15%. But Intel continues to drop the ball in the mobile space. That raises the question -- would investors rather see Intel protect its cash cow revenue line or take a temporary hit to better position itself for the future?

There's no risk in alienating the HPs and Dells of the world. Microsoft is doing that right now because it sees the writing on the wall. Similarly, Intel should consider acting in its own interest.

Wall Street is a forward-looking animal. For better or worse, it wants to see excitement setting up for tomorrow, not preservation of the status quo.

If Intel was making a smoother mobile transition, I would be less skeptical about its other investments. For a time, funding automotive technology, talk about a cable-style offering and Intel's social publishing endeavor, IQ, excited me.

As I reflect further, though, I wonder if Intel lost its way, at least with respect to mobile. Could it be like Google ( GOOG) with a whole host of non-revenue-generating side projects, but weak, if any, stock price appreciation? Or, worse yet, will it join HP, Dell and Cisco Systems ( CSCO) as blue chips that fell off of the map?

At the time of publication, the author was long MSFT.

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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