Quietly and without announcement, Intel pulled out of the branded Wi-Fi market a few months ago. Instead, it will concentrate on its Centrino technology, which embeds Wi-Fi technology into processors for mobile PCs.
Intel’s director of mobility in the UK and Ireland Andrew Allison commented, "There’s a long history of Intel getting involved in end user products then pulling out. Take LAN adapters. We got into it early and when it was huge we got out, when plenty of our customers were ready to service it better than we could.
"We are fundamentally an OEM company. We will leave a market when there’s not a whole lot of sense for us to be in it, when it brings us into conflict with our customers. In future,", he said "We want to help others build the market."
Allison said that Intel expected to ship “millions of Centrinos”, confirming that the company had not left the Wi-Fi market and that there was a buoyant future for it. He noted that a year ago there were 20 hotspots in the UK, while now the number was ten times that, with plenty of growth yet to come.
Allison confirmed that the chip giant would continue support for its Intel Pro/Wireless 2011, 2011B, 2000/5000 and Xircom wireless product ranges. Commenting on Intel president Paul Otellino's speech at last week's Telecosm Conference where he reportedly said that Wi-Fi was in danger of being over-hyped, Allison said that Otellino's remarks were aimed at nay-sayers who were describing Wi-Fi as "a bubble about to burst".
"He’s saying calm down, we’re going to ship millions of notebooks, there are and will be lots of hotspots but it’s a enterprise or consumer business grounded on reality, not like the Internet bubble." Allison pointed out that the UK showed the greatest enthusiasm for Wi-Fi with the largest number of hotspots in Europe. According to Allison, Intel's sales force find that corporates too are showing plenty of enthusiasm, "contrary to some reports we've seen".
"We say to the UK government: the UK is in pole position, we should use that position to drive the IT business forward," said Allison.
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