Intel has decided to stop making desktop motherboards. Except one.
In a statement sent to El Reg, a Chipzilla spokesdroid told us “In order to focus on new and innovative areas in desktop computing, Intel has made the decision to ramp down the Desktop Motherboard Business over the course of the next three years.”
Motherboard experts inside the company will be “redistributed to address emerging new form factors – desktop and mobile – and to expand Intel’s Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD) work, and enable its partners to develop exciting new computing solutions.”
The statement continued with an explanation that “New areas of focus include integration of innovative solutions for the PC ecosystems such as the recently announced Next Unit of Computing (NUC), and deeper relationships with OEM and ODMs for the next generation of Ultrabooks, All-in-One PCs and future innovative products.”
The mention of NUC is notable, as it appears Intel will keep making the boards for the tiny computer it launched last November for applications like digital signage. Indeed, the tweet below from the @Intel boards Twitter account confirms Chipzilla remains very interested indeed in the small machines, motherboard and all.
@sxpert1 We're doubling down on NUC -- it becomes our focus product.^jm— Intel Boards (@IntelBoards) January 23, 2013
Intel's motherboards won't be missed, in the nicest-possible way, as the company sold just four million a year or so of the devices. That number is dwarfed by market leaders ASUS and Gigabyte.
Those companies will presumably pick up the sales Intel's abandoning and will continue to get lots of love given their importance to CPU sales.
PC-makers reliant on Intel boards will get a big hug on the way out the door, with the statement saying the company will “be in lock-step with ODMs to transition customers to new desktop motherboard solutions in the future.”
Intel is also at pains to point out that exiting the motherboard business isn't a signal it will stop designing or making other desktop componentry, insisting “the Desktop segment continues to be a major focus for Intel with hundreds of products across many sub-segments and applications.”
The way PC sales are going, it's interesting to speculate how long that statement will hold true. ®