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Intel kills Consumer Electronics 78

bribecka writes "Saw this on CNet Intel has decided to phase out its consumer electronics division. This division was responsible for digital cameras, digital audio players, and other gadgets. " Not really surprising considering the way things are these days.
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Intel kills Consumer Electronics

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  • Intel (Score:1, Insightful)

    by crumbz ( 41803 )
    It's a low margin business anyway. They never should of got into that business.

    Unless you consider the Pentium class of processors "consumer grade".
    • Re:Intel (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 )
      Low margin because they made cheap stuff. I have the Intel Play microscope, and it's pretty crude resolution. It come swith a few slides of bugs and stuff, but the resolution is so poor that the best you can hope for is a fuzzy look at some detail. Digital microscopes usually $700+ affairs, for pretty good ones, and with a few extra bucks put into this thing they could have had the science market of every school in the country. Too bad they didn't put some real entrepeneurs in charge of that division.
      • Too bad they didn't put some real entrepeneurs in charge of that division

        You obviously have never worked for Intel.

        The only "entrepeneurs" inside Intel are the ones who made a real business from scratch and were devoured by the Borg. They won't be ready to run a division until the implants are completely set.

      • The Intel play microscope goes up to 200x magnification... problem is, it has a cheap ass web-cam type video capture device...

        However, my nieces and nephews have easily gotten my money's worth of play out of this item, and it has spark more than enough questions/curiosity.

        While it is a low-fi item, with crap software, I would have to say that I have enjoyed owning it.

        Ever looked at the writing on an M&M? My nieces & nephews have... and it made them relieze many things...

  • by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:15PM (#2452883) Homepage
    I thought the only reason Intel was even in that business was to promote "their" USB technology. The microscope, the webcam, keyboard and mouse, joysticks...They were all USB devices, and Intel pushed them forth as some of the coolest things available on USB. Unfortunately, Intel has yet to learn that fads don't sell products long-term, hence the "failure to meet long-term growth potential". Well, duh! What'd you expect from selling a fad product?
  • to concentrate on VIA cloning their chips.

    I can imagine the commercials now... someone injects some blue blood into a test tube, and comes out with a warped and deformed Blue Man.

    Then, as the scientist shoots the miserable spawn, a caption appears:

    "Intel P4: Accept No Substitutes."

  • One thing I like about the industry is the diversity of it all. You can walk in a store and be able to choose the product that better suits your needs. With Intel out of the (digital) picture (pun semi-intended), this might create doubt in the smaller manufacturers out there and make a few more drop out of the running. Worst case scenario, it might create a monopoly, at least, in the consumer electronics venue.
    • Your right - during these slow times it seems that a lot of the fringe developments of major companies are going fast - I really like the games that came with my Intel PC Camera - there's nothing like dancing around your PC like an idiot trying knock a virtual basketball into a net via your moving image.
  • by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:16PM (#2452889)
    Which company am I going to turn to to get my hemmorhoid ring shaped, iMac blue, wireless game pads? (

    Oh the humanity...
  • .. when I go to Intel's web page [] they have it boldly proclaimed that

    "Music, Pictures, Video
    Intel Takes Technology Beyond the Processor"

  • MP3 player (Score:1, Redundant)

    by sulli ( 195030 )
    Didn't their non-MP3 MP3 player [] use Microsoft DRM? No wonder it went overlike a lead balloon! Serves 'em right.
    • It supports both MP3 and WMA.
      • I know this is offtopic, but... Are there mp3 players out there that won't play music I've downloaded from gnutella? I've heard allegations and rumors that the sony network walkmans won't play these... ??? I may be under the influence.
    • by kolding ( 55685 )
      It played just about everything. All the reviews I read pretty much put the Pocket Concert as the best memory based MP3 player out there. Lame name, boring package, but works like a charm (I like mine).
  • ya know... (Score:4, Funny)

    by mickeyreznor ( 320351 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:17PM (#2452894) Homepage Journal
    it would have been helpful to add the word "department" at the end of the headline. Saying "Intel kills Consumer Electornics" might freak some people out.
    • Saying "Intel kills Consumer Electornics" might freak some people out.

      Phew!. The first thing I thought was, "THEY'LL NEVER TAKE AWAY MY TI SPEAK-AND-SPELL!!!!"
  • Plea to Intel... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by complex ( 18458 ) <> on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:19PM (#2452900) Homepage
    Dear Intel,

    Please release the specs and documentation associated with the products you've discontinued. For example, the Intel Pocket PC Camera [], along with your other webcams.

    Thank you.

    • Dear Intel,

      Please release the specs and documentation associated with the products you've discontinued. For example, the Intel Pocket PC Camera [], along with your other webcams

      This is actually a really good point. I've wondered myself why companies that no longer sell/support a product don't just open it up wide. THis goes for software as well as hardware specs. Is there really that much competitive IP tied up in a discontinued product that they can't let it out?

      By releasing the specs of a hardware device, or publishing the source for a device driver or video game, are companies really going to be giving away that much? (Oh no! They'll see how wonderful our coding style guideline is!)
      • by btellier ( 126120 )
        Normally when companies say that they are "phasing out" or "discontinuing" a product line they are really just looking for a buyer. Most companies can't afford to do their own R&D on things like digital camera lines but might be able to buy it off an ailing division like Intel's CED.
        • Ok, I know one of the things plaguing OSS is the lack of diversity...

          What about starting a fund of some sort that could buy off (relatively) cheap sell offs of this sorts?

          I know there just have to be some geeks out there with money to burn!


      • Re:Plea to Intel... (Score:3, Informative)

        by VAXman ( 96870 )
        This is actually a really good point. I've wondered myself why companies that no longer sell/support a product don't just open it up wide. THis goes for software as well as hardware specs. Is there really that much competitive IP tied up in a discontinued product that they can't let it out?

        One reason may be that the product may use some component that the company doesn't want to open up even own. For example, a piece of software may depend on some proprietary library which the company doesn't own (and, thus, doesn't have the authorization to open up), and opens itself up to legal trouble if it opens up. A hardware component may be partially designed by another firm and again the company is opening itself to lawsuits if it releases the information. In these cases it is very expensive to research whether or not a product can be opened, and this is a very difficult process if it wasn't originally designed to be open.
  • by NotSurprised ( 525043 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:19PM (#2452901) Homepage
    If you noticed, every Intel "consumer" product was designed to work with a PC, the faster the processor the better. Basically, their consumer products were designed to drive more PC (and hence, Pentium) sales. Just another way to extend your marketing reach...

    Intel is sitting pretty right now (relatively speaking, considering the state of the industry), and also PCs have already reached saturation as well. So they probably don't need "more" -- considering that consumer electronics is so far removed from Intel's core competencies anyways.
  • CHANGE THAT TITLE (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Head's up /.

    The title of this story is "Intel kills Consumer Electronics"

    There is a magazine called Consumer Electronics, who may not be too happy about that title. I actually thought that Intel somehow did the magazine in.

    I highly advise that the title be changed to something like "Intel Kills Consumer Electronics Division".
    • And if you want to make it really accurate, change it to "Intel kills Consumer Products Division", since that's what the group is called.

      Oh wait - did I just mention Slashdot and accuracy in the same sentence? Sorry...

  • I'm truly relieved to know that not all companies can get into a market and dominate it thoroughly like microsoft. I'm very glad that intel doesn't have this power, despite the fact that they are rich.

    It's also a shame though, when the peripheral market shrinks a little bit.
  • Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Green Aardvark House ( 523269 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:24PM (#2452920)
    It made sense for Intel to get out of consumer electronics.

    Declining global economy - Electronics are "luxury items" and therefore are cut first from consumers' budgets.

    Less name recognition - Intel is widely recognized as a leading chipmaker. But for audio players PDA's and such, most people weren't aware, or simply went for bigger names like Rio or Palm.

    Also note they are closing their Online Services Division, as well.

    This will be best for the company. Focus on what it does best.
    • This will be best for the company. Focus on what it does best.

      If you are calling their processors what it does best, its scary to imagine how bad their other products are.
    • Also note they are closing their Online Services Division, as well.

      Actually, they killed Intel Online Services and Intel Internet Media Services months ago.

  • Just thoughts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BluePenguin ( 521713 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:27PM (#2452934) Homepage
    I'm just thinking... does it seem like a lot of the prodocts that have flared up here were good ideas for the geek market... but that the consumer market isn't ready for?

    Example: How many consumers really want an MP3 player in thier home entertainment system? We love it (and spend lots of time talking about the best way to do it), but does the average consumer?

    I think this may be a trend. Geeks think of cool things, and start doing them. Someone in marketing says "Hey, look what the engeneers are putting together for themselves... if they want it and can do it... maybe we can market it!" A few months later geeks are interested... but marketing is looking at consumers not geeks... and projects get abandoned.

    I mean, think about it, when's the last time you saw an add for a portable mp3 player on TV. I've just recently heard a few radio adds for car stereo with mp3 support... but nothing like the Rout 66 project.


  • This is a good move for Intel considering I've never even heard of an intel digital camera, and as I'm semi "wired" I would assume that means that the majority of people haven't heard of them either. Intel should stick to what they're good at: being second to PPC.
    • Well, I used to work for an agency that did lots of video and multimedia for Intel. Of course all of it was designed on Macs.

      We made videos and Flash pieces and web sites all about their digital cameras, internet terminals, web cams etc. So yeah, they had a lot consumer devices, many of which have yet to see the light of day. Other than the Intel brand, these things really had no compelling reason to be puchased.

      Intel's a chip company. They aren't creative enough to really compete in the consumer/"digital hub" arena. This is all probably for the best.
  • by denzo ( 113290 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:28PM (#2452938)
    In a sweeping move today, Intel Corporation has decided to boost revenue during the current looming recession by making drastic changes to the chip market.

    It plans on killing off the consumer base.

    "Consumers are starting to get smart," tertiary chief marketing analyst Joe Nooty said, "They are realizing that they don't actually need to upgrade from a 866MHz Pentium III to a 2.0GHz Pentium 4 to have a good Internet experience."

    "We don't appreciate how our clients becoming unemployed and unable to think about buying our absolute latest product," said another marketing person, "It's time to give them the axe and redefine the market."

    Execution of human beings, except for those employed by Intel, will commence in Q1 2002. The new Pentium 5 (or Pentium Pentium, codenamed Pentium Squared) will debut and will offer a fish-friendly interface.

    "The reason for the fish-interface is simple. The world is 75% covered by water. We'll make a killing in sales by targetting the largest body of species in the world," claimed Nooty.

    Intel representatives refused to answer our calls when we asked sent in questions such as: How do you plan to make "money" off of fish? Where will all these human consumers be burried? What will Intel do as a lone-standing human civilization? And did you ask Microsoft how they plan to port Windows XP (for eXPired) for oceanic fauna?
    • This is the funniest shit I've read all week! Have you ever thought about submitting it to

      *Second time submitting this post (what the hell is an invalid form key?)*

  • In my opinion, Intel was TERRIBLE at making and marketing consumer products. They would sell a product with important details still buggy.

    For example, I bought an Intel computer video camera. There was software to record videos, but there was no way to compress them so that the videos could be sent by email.

    There was software to record audio, but there was no way to pause the recording. Each period of recording had to be a separate file.

    Intel sold a PCMCIA network adapter that didn't work with Sony laptops. There was a piece of paper in the box that said to visit a particular web site. The site said that the adapter did not work with laptops using a particular chipset. The main site for the product did not mention this, however, and there was no link between the two..

    U.S. government corruption: What should be the Response to Violence? []
    • I've had varying success with Intel's cameras.

      I bought the regular middle-end camera, but it wouldn't work for more than 20 seconds on my K6-2 system. Tried everything, evetntually gave up.

      I tried it on my Compaq Laptop, worked just great.

      Tried the high-end camera at work, and just like the middle-end camera, the image quality was PERFECT(no weird lighting situations, etc).

      Too bad really. For several dollars more, you could do away with grainy or poorly lit webcam images.
    • You must be talking about the 802.11b card... But don't blame intel. Symbol made the card. (or is it cymbol? I forget the spelling)...

      But actually, don't get mad at either.. The Vaio is a piece of crap. My Vaio drains the battery MUUUUUUCH faster than my thinkpad.. I also hate how the function keys, the volume wheel, etc etc are all soft keys, meaning you need drivers to get it to work... What a pain... And they didn't work with XP either. And my touch pad on my Vaio is very very quirky... Its so bad, I have to take an external mouse wherever I go.... The eraser point thingy on my thinkpad is much easier to use, and MUCH more reliable. The touchpad on my Vaio always jumps erratically at times, randomly clicking and dragging/screwing things up.

      Besides, I like the keyboard illuminator on my thinkpad :)
  • Not very wise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zen Mastuh ( 456254 ) on Friday October 19, 2001 @04:35PM (#2452966)

    When the economy picks up in a few months, Intel will spend a bunch of money re-opening its Consumer Electronics Division. So will all the other megacorps who are having a contest to see who can lay off the most employees, shut down the most divisions, and finish the year in the black. I think people ("consumers" in business parlance) are just a little scared about spending money right now and are delaying purchases--rather than becoming introspective about overconsumption and all the other things that make America the Great Satan. When everybody feels a little safer again, the money will start rolling up the pyramid into the vaults of the upper caste yet again. Besides, the holiday shopping season is almost here.

    While I was whoring for my undergrad business degree, I remember my profs always speaking of the risks of doing business, etc... I'm beginning to think that only applies to sole proprietors. Historically, corporate owners were only liable to the extent of their investment. With the $100,000,000,000+ US that Bush is trying to give to the megacorps, how can any of them still believe they will lose money this year?

    • Eventually, when Intel is flush with cash and looking for ways to risk it, maybe.

      But the whole point of diversifying is to find those businesses that are easy when you're rich and durable when you're not.

      Intel is doing the right thing shaking itself out of a subsidiary business that turns less profit and leaving it to more focussed competitors.

      As for your question about the bailouts, $100 billion is nothing in this economy. Most popular mutual funds have $0.5-3.0 trillion in them. And there are a bunch of those.

      Lots of companies will go the way of Intel's consumer-products division.

      BTW, I'm predicting that this time next decade, you'll be able to walk into Crazy Great Satan's Hi-Fi store in Tehran and get the new Sony MD players and pay $US currency. The world changes. If you stop listening to the xenophobes worldwide and change it.

  • Intel on appliances (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LazyDawg ( 519783 )
    I'm just sort of glad Motorola hasn't decided to ditch their much more popular 680x0 breed of processors, which can be found in everything from your phone to your PDA to your older computers. Intel leaving the industry just means there's more money to be made if you're one of the "other", higher quality chipmakers.
    • I suppose this is probably a troll, but since it got modded up as 'interesting', I feel compelled to point out that the article says nothing about Intel discontinuing any line of processors.

      Unless you are somehow under the impression that a digital camera competes directly with 16-bit microcontrollers for consumer dollars, I really con't find even a tiny modicum of sense in this comment.
  • "Honey, the stereo died again, we can't seem to keep anything working around here anymore..."

    Fade in scary music. Pan to Fentium, the little chipster busying reading BOFH. clickety-click.
    Pan to vacuum cleaner. See the new mexican jumping bean robots disappearing up the tube. Pan to the TV set, where the volume is at full, on channel 3.5, with Barney singing a duo with HAL.
  • Anyone know if this will be discontinued too? I believe they acquired it when they acquired Xircom.

  • ...for Apple, who is releasing some mystery device [] next week and getting back into the consumer hardware business. Hopefully it won't go the way of the Newton or Pippin...
  • most of thier stuff was overpriced and crap. if they did this about a year or two ago, when the market was fresh(or kind of fresh), we'd probably using Intel toasters with digital cameras to show you the level of toasting the bread's at
  • Disney Kills Consumer Electronics?

    Wait a minute. That is the next story...
  • but they are also discountinuing a wide range of consumer devices a'la audrey. It is interesting to note that...

    "Dot.Station, a countertop terminal powered by Red Hat Linux that lets people surf the Web, exchange emails and make phone calls." is one of them.

    It should be noted, that the hanhelds and the PC devices market is one that linux has a strong foothold in and surpasses any other OS.

    One could fear that witht he eclipse of these, the linux popularity could be crumbling very, very fast.

    I surely hope that wouldn't happen too fast and too much, but facts are out there, unfortunately...

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle