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商业 - 科技

新掌门的实用主义能让英特尔东山再起吗?

Kevin Kelleher 2014年01月27日

科兹安尼克也许会是一位务实的首席执行官,他最终会要得到他想要的一切。不过,科兹安尼克最近把老掌门欧德宁主导打造的网络视讯转换器项目OnCue低价卖给电信运营商威瑞森的举动表明,英特尔已经从号令群雄的王者变成了一家巴结讨好潜在同盟者的普通公司。

    科兹安尼克在探讨公司收入的电话会议上提到了英特尔最近为平板电脑和智能手机发布的Bay Trail单芯片系统平台。他的目标是到今年年底售出4,000万台拥有英特尔处理器的平板电脑,而在2013年此类产品的销量是1,000万台。科兹安尼克还对科技网站Re/code解释,英特尔低功率的Quark芯片将会如何“在从机器到可穿戴设备到更多各种各样的产品中找到立足之地。”

    当然,科兹安尼克也会犯错。他在本月的消费电子展(CES)上演示了一系列可穿戴式的计算设备。不过,英特尔公司承认其中的一些设备使用了ARM的芯片。ARM是这家公司的竞争对手,为iPad和其他平板电脑提供芯片。结果,英特尔的这场表演反而起到了完全相反的效果。

    科兹安尼克并不逃避大胆的举措。他的前任保罗•欧德宁青睐的项目之一是OnCue,这是英特尔为了在纯粹的芯片业务之外创造新的收入所进行的尝试。OnCue是由广受好评的BBC iPlayer的创造者埃里克•哈格斯设计的网络视讯转换器。根据亲历者的说法,OnCue的界面“美观”、“大胆”,或许能够最终实现大屏幕网络视频的愿景,彻底让原始的付费电视观看体验变成历史。

    本周,科兹安尼克将OnCue以2亿美元的价格出售给了威瑞森电信(Verizon),这个价格只是英特尔原始报价的五分之一。这次交易对威瑞森来说是一大利好,能够帮助它与康卡斯特电信公司(Comcast)展开竞争,或许还可以改善订阅其FIOS TV服务的小部分用户的电视观看体验。又或者威瑞森只是希望收购一项先进技术,提供比现有运营商更好的用户体验。

    英特尔为何要以如此低的折扣价甩卖优秀的创意产品?很可能是因为科兹安尼克的实用至上主义。英特尔没必要在它不太能够理解的事情上分心,比如与拥有视频内容的巨头交涉。而且,这笔交易还让英特尔与威瑞森攀上了交情,后者有能力决定制造商在智能手机和平板电脑中使用哪种芯片,比如英特尔的Atom或者Bay Trail?

    《巴伦周刊》(Barron's )引用英特尔消息源的话称:“大家应该这么想:你有了新任的首席执行官,他的战略目标是让芯片打入手机和平板电脑市场,而公司与市场内的巨头都没有联系。你在移动市场没有市场份额时,有人就会认为你有必要建立一些关系。”换句话说,英特尔已经从能够号令其他行业的王座上跌落,变成了一家需要讨好巴结潜在盟友的公司。

    科兹安尼克的所作所为就像工程师一样。他也许会是像Facebook的马克•扎克伯格一样的首席执行官——实用至上,最终得到他想要的一切,即便这意味着在途中会忽视许多其他的意外发现。但是这不要紧。摩尔定律还在发展演变。而在科兹安尼克的带领下,英特尔也要尝试着继续进步。(财富中文网)

    译者:严匡正

    In the conference call to discuss earnings, Krzanich discussed the Bay Trail system-on-a-chip platform Intel recently launched for tablets and smartphones. His goal is to sell 40 million tablets with Intel processors by year's end, having sold 10 million through 2013. Krzanich also toldRe/code how its low-power Quark chips would "find a home in all manner of gear from machines to wearables and more."

    Krzanich is not immune to missteps. At CES this month, he demoed a number of devices in wearable computing, but the gambit backfired when the company admitted some of those devicesused chips from ARM, the rival whose chips power the iPad and other tablets.

    But neither is Krzanich averse to bold measures. One of the pet projects of his predecessor, Paul Otellini, was OnCue, Intel's bid at creating new revenue streams outside of pure chips. OnCue was an Internet-driven set-top box designed by Eric Huggers, who previously created the well-received BBC iPlayer. OnCue delivered an interface that, according to those who saw it, was "beautiful" and "audacious," something that could finally deliver on the promise of big-screen Internet video and bury for good the medieval experience of navigating pay TV.

    This week, Krzanich sold OnCue off to Verizon (VZ) for a reported $200 million, a fifth of Intel's original asking price. The deal is a good one for Verizon, helping it take on Comcast (CMCSA) and perhaps improve the TV experience for the small audience that has access to its FIOS TV service. Or maybe Verizon just wants to sunset a technology superior to the experience already offered by incumbents.

    Why would Intel sell a perfectly good innovation at a steep discount? Most likely because of Krzanich-school practicality. Intel doesn't have to distract itself with things it poorly understands, like negotiating with the sharks that own video content. And also to win some valuable chits with Verizon, which has the power to tell mobile-phone manufacturers which chip to put into its smartphones and tablets ... like the Atom or the Bay Trail, maybe?

    "Think of it in a way where you have a new CEO who has a strategy of delivering chips into phones and tablets, and no relationship with those big players," Barron's quoted an Intel source as saying. "When you have zero market share in mobile, one could argue there is a need to cement the relationship." In other words, Intel has fallen from a giant that told other industries how to do business to a company that curries favor with potential allies.

    Just like an engineer. Krzanich may turn out to be a CEO like Facebook's (FB) Mark Zuckerberg -- so practical-minded he gets exactly what he wants in the end, even if it means passing serendipity along the way. No matter. Moore's law progresses. And under Krzanich, Intel will try to as well.

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