After about 20 years of selling branded desktop motherboards, Intel will start leaving this part of the business, the company’s spokesman Dan Snyder said. It was reported that the chip giant will start the retreat from desktop motherboards as soon as its next-generation Haswell CPU ships. After that, they plan to dissolve the company’s Desktop Motherboard Business unit within the next three years.
This move by the Santa Clara-based company is in response to various market pressures. For one, the market no longer strongly demands as many desktop motherboards as it did in the past. In fact, consumers are shifting to laptops and tablets. Thus, Intel has to respond to changing times.
Aside from that, companies such as ASUS, Gigabyte, and Asrock are meeting the existing demand with a wide variety of motherboard products that have innovative features. Worse, the feature set offered by Intel chips was unable to keep the pace with the offerings from other Asian companies. Thus it prompts the question: Why even buy an Intel board in the first place?
Shifting Resources to New Form Factors
Due to this, Intel says that they will shift resources from desktop motherboards to boards designed from emerging form factors. This includes their latest Next Unit of Computing (NUC), a 4 x 4-inch, self-contained PC.
The company will also focus on improving Ultrabooks and all-in-one system designs. In relation to this, manufacturers can license either the entire design or just parts of it to integrate into their own products.
Additionally, the chip giant will ramp up efforts to expand their Form Factor Reference Design work, assisting OEM partners in developing new board designs for desktop PCs.
Market Shift and Its Impact on Consumers
When it comes to retail motherboard market, Intel was never a large player, although a number of OEM PCs used to ship with Intel chips. Because of the competitive landscape, it’s a no-brainer that the company is refocusing its efforts on areas with greater potential of future growth.
Focusing on reference designs for all-in-one PCs, Ultrabooks and tablets will allow the chip maker and its partners to rapidly deliver products that appeal to the new generation of mobile users.
Still, performance-minded enthusiasts will still be able to select from a variety of motherboards offered by Asian companies. To this point, it looks like Intel is exiting the desktop motherboard market just in time. But the shrinking of the PC and desktop market, which will make socketed Intel CPUs a thing of the past, is less likely to happen in the next few years yet.