Intel to merge PC and mobile units into one Client Computing Group

18 Nov 2014

In recognition of the blurring of the lines between tablet and laptop computers, chip giant Intel is merging its PC and mobile chip businesses into a new division called the Client Computing Group.

The new division, which launches at the start of next year, will include the teams that develop Core processors for desktops and laptops, including the MacBook Air, and teams that develop Atom chips for smartphone and tablet devices.

It is understood that the new unit will be led by Kirk Skaugen, who currently heads the PC chip group.

In a memo to employees CEO Brian Brian Krzanich told employees that the head of the tablet and phone chip division Hermann Eul will stay on to help the transition and a new role for him will be announced in the new year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Industry-wide, the lines have been blurring,” Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said. “The question is whether we’re organised to map to where the market is going.”

Back to the Core

Both the PC and mobile chip businesses in Intel were operating at a loss while groups that make chips for servers and the cloud have been steaming ahead.

Revenue in Intel’s Mobile and Communications group declined to US$1m from US$353m a year ago.

Losses of over US$1bn have been driven by subsidies paid to tablet makers to encourage their uptake.

While Intel’s Core chips in devices like the MacBook Air and the Surface Pro have been popular and pretty much facilitate the blurring of the lines between PCs and tablets, Intel strategically dropped the ball on the smartphone revolution four years ago, ceding vital ground to players like ARM and Qualcomm.

That said, Intel is still a pivotal player in tablet computing and is on track to exceed its target of shipping 40m tablet processors this year, according to Bloomberg.

Teams at the Mobile and Communications Group will be broken up. Teams that develop mobile processors will join the new Client Computing Group while the remainder focused on modems will form part of a new wireless R&D group.

Intel image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years