Intel believes that very few of the problem chip sets -- launched one week ago to handle communication between a central computer processor and functions controlling audio and video, among other things -- actually reached consumers. The chip maker says it has been working with manufacturers such as Dell
Frankly, it's doubtful that much, if any, damage has been done, and Intel should be applauded for getting out in front of the issue before it became a crisis. But that doesn't mean shareholders shouldn't be concerned. After all, this isn't the first time Intel has stubbed its toe in recent months. For example, Intel missed earnings estimates in April.
The timing of the recall isn't terribly encouraging either. With News.com reporting that the Nocona chip is to debut today, Intel doesn't need the distraction. And the new processor is important, for it represents Intel's best hope to date to cause discomfort to AMD in powering smaller-scale servers.
The new Nocona and rival Opteron are designed to handle data in both 32-bit and 64-bit chunks. Most PCs bundle data in 32-bits, but servers, designed for much meatier processing jobs, are better suited for 64-bit portions. For Opteron, the combo approach has proven attractive, with HP, IBM
What's the bottom line? Simple: Intel is flawed. But so what? Every business is. Each company has a secret side -- an evil twin -- that likes to eat cookies in bed and ignore fiscal discipline. Intel is no different. Of course, the best companies keep their dark sides under control, and, despite some great quarterly results, Intel's Mr. Hyde has been frolicking in public a lot lately. Will someone please page Dr. Jekyll?