Is Wintel Really History?

Is it just us, or does it sound hostile if Asustek says that the era of Windows-Intel computers is over?

Tablets, it seems, are not just seen as an opportunity for PC vendors to sell products into a new market. It's also seen as the chance to break free from the chains of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) . Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih recently said that there is a new era coming in which no CPU and OS can dominate PCs, tablets, or smartphones anymore. Shih said that his company is learning from vendors such as Sony and Apple.

In Intel's and Microsoft's defense, we would have to argue that there was nothing that kept Asustek from inventing new device categories such as the modern tablet. There were plenty of hardware and software platforms that supported the tablet idea, yet this idea came from Apple. It feels a bit as if Shih is blaming a lack of innovative capability at PC vendors on the companies that had the main ideas for the PC trends of the past decade.

We are currently seeing this again with the ultrabook, which apparently was Intel's idea. However, the initial ultrabooks seem to be only thinner and lighter than today's notebooks. It's not going to be enough to create enthusiasm for a new notebook to simply change the dimensions and weight. Intel is driving this initiative, even if common sense suggests that companies such as Asustek should come up with such ideas -- and take risks to go beyond the notebooks and tablets we have today.

Wintel surely will lose some traction as Windows 8 moves to ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH  ) and Intel will also support, for example, Android. But this new age does not necessarily mean that PCs will get better. Companies such as Asustek will have to show that they can innovate on their own, without the help of Intel and Microsoft. Asustek will need the support of both down the road, as we have not seen any indication that Asustek can reinvent the computer.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 11, 2011, at 8:27 PM, BillStacker wrote:

    Didn't Asus build the first ultrabook and present it along with Intel?

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2011, at 8:36 AM, SEOServices wrote:

    It's great for businesses and consumers to have more choices; but WinARM is not going to be successful unless/until the major Windows apps are ported to ARM.

    The Win8 OS on ARM won't be available until 2013, and MSFT has not yet committed to producing a version of Office for ARM. DItto for the major 3rd party apps. Hard to see businesses or consumers buying these tablets before the apps are available -- in 2014?

    It also appears that Intel's 3-D chips (shipping this year and running Windows and all Windows apps) may eliminate any advantage ARM currently has in power consumption. So it looks like WinARM is going to be too little, too late.

  • Report this Comment On June 16, 2011, at 7:15 PM, iParadigm2watch wrote:

    It is too late.

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