Updated from 4:07 p.m. EDT
management expounded on the company's platform reorganization strategy Thursday, telling investors that the world's largest chipmaker plans on getting even larger.
"We are focused on growth, focused on numbers and focused on continuing to deliver bottom-line results," said Intel President Paul Otellini during a meeting with analysts in New York.
The hope for Intel, of course, is that delivering bottom-line results will yield a higher stock price. So far this year, shares are up 3.8% to $24.27, notably outperforming its semiconductor peers. Still, shares are off of a mid-March high of just above $25, a level that has stymied shares during the past year.
Intel's presentation on Thursday yielded only relatively minor news, mostly concerning product evolutions, but investors were jolted by an inference of a reduction by Intel in its capital-expenditure plans.
The chipmaker highlighted its capital spending commitment during the past five years via a bar chart. On it, Intel's forecasted bar for 2005 showed expected spending of $5.6 billion. This marks the midpoint of its recently increased range of $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion.
Since Intel increased its budget range only two weeks ago and Otellini made no mention on Thursday of another change to the company's spending budget, it's likely this was an overreaction by investors. During the company's conference call on April 19, Intel CFO Andy Bryant referred to the company's new spending budget by using its midpoint, while still implying that the entire range was in play.
Intel started 2005 by announcing a reorganization around product platforms, in an effort to replicate the success of its Centrino brand, a bundle of technologies used in notebook computers. Otellini, who ascends to the CEO position in 13 days, said this strategy should be able to carry over to servers and data centers, cell phones and consumer electronics gear and to the health care industry.
At the center of this strategy are Intel's microprocessors. From there, Intel will layer on additional technologies, such as power management tools and chipsets, which help microprocessors to communicate with other system components. Otellini also cited the need for each platform to have communications abilities and that Intel's software adds value and unique enhancements.
"We want to invest and deliver platforms that can grow the market, grow our market segment share, that can grow the average selling price, and that can grow our share of wallet," Otellini said.
He cited data showing how successful Centrino has been at doing each of these things. Centrino consists of a Pentium M, related chipsets and wireless networking technologies. The technologies can be purchased piecemeal but will carry the Centrino designation only when purchased together.
Through a $300 million marketing push when it was introduced two years ago, the Centrino brand has become synonymous with the ability to access the Internet wirelessly. The marketing campaign also helped establish a demand for hotspots and has helped spur the uptake of notebook computers.
How similar efforts carry over to the desktop, servers and the like will indeed determine how successful Intel will be in growing. Intel is betting that if it can get its technologies to work better together, then users will find more reasons to buy its products, no matter what market segment it targets.
"Growth doesn't just happen," Otellini said. "You make investments, and you capitalize on them."
Others see the same thing. With Intel broadening its reach, it is encroaching in territories dominated by sizable competitors, namely
in the cell-phone space,
in the memory space and
in the consumer electronics space.
Also, microprocessor rival
Advanced Micro Devices
has increased its manufacturing and technology capabilities in the past couple of years to offer more formidable competition to Intel.
Another issue for Intel is that its expansion plans call for it to take on more business for its customers than it has in the past in the form of providing a more robust set of components. Technology buyers have typically shown a reticence to giving a supplier too much business for fears that it will be at that supplier's mercy, either in terms of pricing or component considerations.
Otellini disputes that. "The biggest impact of that
platform equation isn't on our customers, it's on our competitors," he says, citing the Centrino introduction as a spur to notebook sales for all vendors. "Us changing the inflection rate on market growth was good for raising a lot of boats and not terribly good for a lot of our competitors."
As for the financial ramifications, executives were expectedly mute. The company will host a midquarter update on June 9 and investors will also be able to glean additional insight when
, the world's largest computer maker and Intel's largest customer, reports financial results May 12.
Otellini did say, however, that the company expects to meet all demand requirements this year, an important pledge considering the company has been tight on certain microprocessors thus far in 2005 and the busiest part of the year is rapidly approaching. He also reiterated an expectation for seasonal growth this year.
Outgoing CEO Craig Barrett told investors to expect a "major new branding campaign toward the end of this year." That campaign will be launched by Eric Kim, vice president and director of marketing, who joined Intel from Samsung in November.