Dell is near a five-year low. Asus, the company that brought us the netbook, is worth half what it was in 2009. Acer is worth a quarter what it was worth at its peak in 2005, and Toshiba has shed huge amounts of value in the past years.
Which means that now is a horrible time for Intel to delay Windows 8 tablets with the latest processors.
But that’s exactly what’s happening, according to Bloomberg, which said late last night that the reason Microsoft hasn’t approved any Windows 8 tablets using the new Clover Trail chip is that Intel is late on power management software.
It’s already difficult for the traditional PC sales leaders to compete with Apple, the most valuable company in the world, which has fewer product lines, tighter inventory controls, and simpler manufacturing processes than most of the PC world. The tablet revolution caught most of the traditional PC industry by surprise, and companies like Dell, Asus, Acer, and Toshiba are still scrambling to respond.
Windows 8 is supposed to provided a good portion of that response, melding the simplified touch interface of a tablet with the full power of desktop applications, but as Apple fans can attest, software and hardware need to mesh tightly for an optimal product. And if the hardware’s not ready, problems are inevitable.
The latest problem comes less than a week after Intel chief executive Paul Otellini reportedly told Taiwanese employees that Windows 8 was being released before it’s ready. Intel released a sort-of denial later that day. It suggests that both Microsoft and Intel are getting a little testy as the planned ship date for Windows 8, October 26, draws near.
Clover Trail is the next version of Intel’s Atom chip, long known for its cheap, if somewhat underpowered, performance in netbooks and laptops. But Intel has now further optimized it for tablet use and improved battery life — up to 10 hours.
VentureBeat reached out to Intel for comment, and a company representative told us that Intel expects Clover Trail to ready in time for the Windows 8 launch.