Why Won't Intel Just Tell the World It Doesn't Suck?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- On New Year's Day, tech site gigaom published the story Intel (INTC) should be screaming from rooftop gardens.

Around the time Intel announced the "retirement" of CEO Paul Otellini, I challenged the company in Intel CEO Out: It's About Time and Intel Will Die If It Doesn't Think and Act Differently:

Intel needs a visionary CEO, not a chip geek, to come in, put the kibosh on hobbies that will likely go nowhere and reposition the company as a powerhouse. You're simply not going to find that person via the run-of-the-mill look at internal candidates, interview-the-names-the-media-spits-out process.

Intel executives didn't take kindly to my critique.

They "reached out," but told me nothing. All they offered were cryptic comments cloaked in don't count us out, we've got some stuff planned rhetoric.

I never heard from Intel again, even though I was promised follow-up. That's typical of so many companies. Call and yell at a pest, the pest stands up to you and the "conversation" ends. (I told the Intel rep that we wouldn't be having this conversation if Intel didn't miss mobile five years ago and its chips powered smartphones like they do PCs and Macs).

That approach -- typical of large corporations -- does a disservice to investors. That's how Netflix ( NFLX) rolls for example. They never let anybody in. They guard the castle and turn the dissemination of information into a game of who can get a "source" to leak something they're not authorized to leak. Every piece of Netflix information I have ever received came to me because somebody said something they weren't supposed to say. That's bad investor, public and media relations.

On the other hand, some companies get a guy like me on the phone and say, Listen, here's the deal. You're actually onto something. I have talked with executives from multiple companies in the last few months who tell me I'm spot on (or close to it) in my criticism and here's how we're moving forward to address the situation. Out of respect for these executives, I won't name names; just search my article history.

Intel gives investors the shaft by leaving them in the dark. If it was not for an excellent Janko Roettgers' article at gigaom, we would have no idea what Intel is really up to. That they, apparently, fall more in line with my thinking than not.

I was on to something. So why didn't Intel just tell me that? Why does Roettgers' have to dig for the good stuff? Why are off-the-record, unnamed sources and buried YouTube videos providing the type of gold Intel should aggressively promote to investors?

I don't know anything about silicon. Zero. And I told him that. He said: "That's exactly what we need. We need someone who doesn't understand silicon. We need someone who has launched services, who has worked in a content environment, and who can help bridge that gap.

From the above-linked gigaom article, that's Intel Media President Erik Huggers speaking about his job interview with Otellini.

Intel Media is a "top-secret" start-up-like entity within Intel leading efforts to break into the living room with a television set-top box. The question, according to Roettgers, is will the new Intel CEO champion media services as a major part of the company's future?

I have my opinions about Intel's living room ambitions. I'm still bearish. But that's fodder for another article.

From a bigger picture, philosophical standpoint, I like what Intel is doing. I want to be wrong about the company. In fact, I have always prefaced Intel criticism with qualifiers: It pains me to be so bearish a company for which I have had great respect.

I just wish Intel would tell the world what it's up to. That it's not destined to be a not-so-slowly eroding, our-dividend-yield-will-save-us blue chipper.

Intel can write off its secrecy to the competitive process, but that's garbage. We all know what they're trying to do in the living room anyhow. A lack of early aggression stinks like a lack of confidence. And "leaks" are just plain stupid.

If you think Apple ( AAPL) has no clue in the living room and you're hiring content people to beat them at their own game, excellent, give us the goods ... now!

Like at the upcoming Consumer Electronic Show (CES), which TheStreet's Chris Ciaccia will be covering live from Las Vegas.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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