Intel does not think that the launch of Apple’s own silicon, the M1, will impact the chipset maker’s dominance in the lucrative enterprise PC market. In fact, Intel says the debut of its new 11th Gen Core vPro processors for business at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show earlier this week gives it an edge over competitors, including Apple and AMD.
“They [Apple] do have aspirations to get in… but I think most businesses will tell you, until there is a broader ecosystem of business-related solutions it’s not really a viable solution yet,” Stephanie Hallford, Vice-President and General Manager of Business Client Platforms, Client Computing Group, Intel told indianexpress.com over a Skype call.
Despite reports claiming that the M1 chip is the new benchmark in personal computing, Hallford dismissed those claims by saying “the benchmarks are a little fuzzy…. they are in corner cases, they are not broad.”
Hallford, who has been with Intel since 2000, said the company is trying to educate its customers about real-world experiences and how its chipsets are better suited for business world applications and work with office users, without compromising on the security. “These are all things that the legacy systems such as Intel, Microsoft, and all of the app developer world have created over the years, there’s a lot still missing in that experience from the Apple side,” she said.
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Intel’s new business-focused processors build upon the strengths of its 11th-Gen mobile processors and are designed to power premium thin and light laptops including the Dell Latitude 9420. Features like security and remote manageability are critical to IT departments during pandemic times, and Intel isn’t shying away from highlighting them. Intel said more than 60 new laptops will be launching this year with the new vPro processors and some of them will have the Intel Evo vPro brand.
While Intel welcomes competition from Apple, Hallford said she still strongly believes that larger enterprises and businesses will always favour Intel-powered systems because of the cost factor and the ease of getting things done. “We have discussed that with a lot of our IT departments who find that it’s expensive for them not only to purchase, but to upkeep,” Hallford said.
But in the post-pandemic world, where most firms are preparing to adopt a “hybrid” office model where people split work time between their home office and the office, the needs of enterprise IT will also change. As Hallford pointed out, the rise in the purchase of notebooks has far outstripped the desktop form factor and that shows how corporate PC buying behaviour during the pandemic has changed. While the desktop form factor will serve specific needs, the notebook form factor will explode further, thus opening up more competition from new MacBooks with the M1 chip and AMD’s Ryzen Pro-powered notebooks.
Intel’s expectation is that the launch of an updated vPro platform for its “Tiger Lake” 11th Gen Core processors as well as expanding the Evo program into vPro might help it differentiate notebooks that cater to corporate environments. “We think a lot of our Evo platforms, which are coming out with the display, and the audio and the battery life, and thin and light are really very worthy competitors of those that require that very ultimate mobility that many of the Apple Macs have been known for,” she said.
Intel has been increasingly facing stiff competition from Apple and AMD in the PC market. Apple announced plans to transition to its own silicon back in June last year, while AMD is eating Intel’s market share in both desktop and laptop CPU segments. Intel announced earlier this week that its current CEO Bob Swan is stepping down from the position next month, set to be replaced by VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. Gelsinger is an Intel veteran, who previously has worked at the chip maker for 30 long years.
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