Intel Is Going Strong With Its Price Points Advantage Through Celeron

Updated: Nov 15 2002, 05:30am hrs
Despite a severe recession in the hardware market and slow offtake of computers in the last two years, Intel Corporation continues to pack more speed in its microprocessors and offer new technologies. Its flagship microprocessor Pentium 4, which was launched two years back in November 2000 with just 1 Mhz speed, has now touched 3 Mhz speed with the launch of Intels new hyper threading technology. Ashu Kumar and Prachi Verma caught up with Intels South Asia director Avtar Saini to talk about competition, latest trends and the future of computer devices. Excerpts:

Avtar Saini
Intels arch rival AMD seems to be fast covering ground in the Indian market. The other competitor, VIA, is also aggresively wooing the Indian market. What impact has the competition made on Intels business in India so far and what would be your strategy to counter them
AMD has been active in the market and there will always be some movement when a company enters a market. But it does not mean that Intel is losing its market share.

We are extremely strong in the market from a roadmap perspective and in terms of our products and technologies.

VIA, on the other hand, is operating in the very low end of the market but Intel is going strong with its price points advantage through its Celeron processors.

Computing is slowly moving away from desktop to the mobile space on mobile phones, palmtops and tablet PCs. What implications will it have on companies like Intel as desktop space contributes a majority of its business
Mobile devices will not replace a full-fledged computing device. The mobile phones and PDAs (personal data assistant) are primarily used to access information and not for computing.

Similarly, while tablet PCs may offer a large form factor, they are not convenient enough to work on applications like Word or PowerPoint that are used by computer users almost daily.

However, Intel is not only limited to desktop space. We are currently offering processors for all kinds of devices including tablet PCs and mobile phones.

The usage of notebook computers is slowly picking up in India. What is Intels strategy to tap this market
We have a focussed approach on developing the notebook computer market in India. Notebook computers are becoming popular as price points are also coming down. Moreover, the delicensing of 802.11 protocol will lead to a spurt in the demand for notebook computers.

We are aggresively working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well as other computer vendors that are in the business of assembling notebooks using Intel processors to enhance the notebook market.

How crucial is the pricing issue in order to reach out to the mass market in India Will lower price points enable PC vendors to grab a larger market share
Pricing is an important factor for users while deciding on buying a PC.

However, even at the current price point we can further penetrate the market. Other than the finance and banking sector, which has been very active in spending on PCs, there is a dearth of investments in all other sectors on PC. There is a need for incentives from the government in the form of lowering tariffs on PC components. The government can easily waive off the 30 per cent taxation on these components, which can lead to drastic reduction in prices and then a Rs 25,000 machine will cost only Rs 17,000.

Owing to the slowdown PC sales in the last two years have not been very encouraging. Do you see any impact of this slowdown on the pace of innovation in computing technology
Investment in technology does not go up or go down. Innovation is research and development is continuing. We, as a company, continue to invest in future technology at an aggressive pace. Processing technology changes every two and a half years and we need to keep pace with this.