Intel Diversifies – Again.

Intel is reported to be developing its own set top box for the US market which it will use to offer a pay-IPTV service to viewers.

The company is said to be talking to content providers and intends to offer the service by the end of the year.


Intel has been looking for non-PC markets for its chips for years and this is another attempt to do that.


In 2009 it had to write off $1bn of its investment in Wimax operator Clearwire. Intel hoped that the Clearwire investment would get Intel chips into Wimax wireless equipment. It was the wrong bet – the world went for LTE.


Wimax was one of a string of Intel’s would-be diversifications which went wrong. CLECs was another (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers); consumer electronics was a particularly short-lived new venture; its first-ever attempt at diversifying was into electronic watches which cost Intel $15m in the 70s.


Intel co-founder Gordon Moore wore the Intel watch, called a Microma, for many years ands was still wearing it in 1997 when he told me:  “It reminds me, if I ever find myself thinking of getting into other consumer products, of the trouble we’d be getting into.”


With Google, Apple and Microsoft all engaged in IPTV, Intel’s chances of success are seen as slim.



  1. Are you sure El Rupester. I had Infineon listed as launching their first LTE chipsets in 2009. Didn’t those make it to market ?

  2. Thanks El Rupester. How interesting that Infineon’s wireless division should have screwed up on LTE so soon after being bought by Intel.

  3. But Infineon/Intel doesn’t have an LTE chip yet. They’re late.
    That’s one of the reasons Apple moved away from them to QCOM (as evidenced by iPad3).
    That’s my point. If you look at how fast Sequans, GCT etc re-did their chips from one OFDMA to t’other, Intel has missed out.
    That is at the silicon level.
    Investing in operators was always a bit weird. Though they might yet get a return because of the spectrum value.

  4. nope – it’s been a total waste of money. That happens in an industry moves as fast as ours.

  5. Good point, Mike, so Intel should, presumably, be pumping a few more billions into Clearwire to make it an LTE shop.

  6. Intel got LTE from Infineon so why compete with yourself ? I expect anything useful was transferred over.

  7. Well all I can put it down to, El Rupester, is typical Intel behaviour which is to have a go at something new – watches, ASICs, PLDs, CLECs, X-Scale, consumer electronics – and when it doesn’t work out pretty quickly, junk it. Maybe, when you stick your neck outside your protected monopoly and encounter the real world of competition it comes as a rude and horrible shock.

  8. What puzzles me is why Intel couldn’t take their work in WiMAX and move it into LTE?
    The two standards are technically very similar.
    Beceem (bought by Broadcom for $300M), Sequans (IPO’d), GCT, Picochip, Airspan, Samsung, have all taken their investment in WiMAX and used to accelerate their presence in LTE.
    So why did Intel just write it all off & withdraw?
    I know there wasa lot of silly emotion & politics (QCOM & E/// dissing WiMAX; Intel & Samsung as its cheerleaders) so maybe that is why…?

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