Intel is in trouble. There is a very clear move by market-leading companies such as Microsoft and Apple to move away from their slow-moving platform, and it appears the only thing which is still keeping them alive is platform inertia.
The truth is however that the main reason Intel is still selling hundreds of millions of processors each year is a simple misunderstanding of the market by Microsoft – people are not willing to pay extra for having a WLAN modem in their PC.
When Microsoft announced the Always Connected PC initiative, which was meant to kickstart the entry of ARM laptops into the enterprise market, the move was met with a big yawn. Despite ARM processors generally being cheaper than PCs, the laptops were all priced as premium devices, usually above $1000.
The insistence of tying the Always Connected PC initiative to ARM processors and the associated engineering and certification costs surrounding it has meant the move to ARM-powered laptops has fallen flat in both the consumer and enterprise market, both increasingly price sensitive.
ARM laptops have the capacity to unseat Intel due to obvious power per watt advantages but until Microsoft and their OEMs free it from being dragged down by the superfluous LTE and 5G modems they will always be at a major cost disadvantage and never succeed.