For decades, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) have been like two peas in a computing pod, forming the nearly unstoppable force that was WinTel. The two companies are both relying heavily on the software giant's Windows 8 operating system to spark sluggish PC sales when it's released in almost exactly one month.
Just this month, Intel had to cut its third-quarter guidance amid a "challenging macroeconomic environment." Translation: PC sales are stinking it up. Considering its outlook, there's a good chance Intel won't put up revenue growth this year.
According to a recent Bloomberg report, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said at an internal meeting in Taipei that Windows 8 isn't ready yet and that the OS is plagued by bugs. Furthermore, Otellini says Microsoft knows this -- but is proceeding with the scheduled launch anyway. On the other hand, he then backed Mr. Softy's decision and thinks that releasing it before it's had all the finishing touches put on is the right thing to do. Wait, what?
The reasoning goes that since software is easily updatable after the fact, Microsoft is right to push forward in order to get Windows 8 out the door and then circle back and patch any holes it needs to. It's not uncommon for software makers to quickly release updates after an initial product launch to address vulnerabilities or other issues that might be discovered. For example, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has already issued two maintenance updates to the latest version of its desktop operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, since its release in July.
Many of Microsoft's hardware partners have their hands on Windows 8 already and are diligently working to prepare the next generation of devices. However, some analysts question whether or not the OEMs will have sufficient time to marry the hardware and software in a cohesive manner. Among these new devices will be tablets with high hopes of challenging the iPad and granting both Microsoft and Intel entry into that booming market.
If we're just talking about some minor glitches that the average user won't notice and can be quickly fixed, then no harm, no foul. But if we're talking about bugs that jeopardize the overall user experience, Windows 8 might not have much of a chance.