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Brian Krzanich, Intel

INTC CEO Brian KrzanichHe’s only been CEO of Intel (INTC) since May, but Brian Krzanich inherited a challenge. His company is one of the PC-era’s biggest dinosaurs –the dominant supplier of the CPUs powering Windows PCs– and it’s been feeling the effect of slowing computer sales.

His predecessor failed to act on the growing importance of the mobile market, and as a result, Intel watched as companies like ARM (ARMH), Qualcomm (QCOM), Nvidia (NVDA) and Samsung (SSNLF) stepped in to power the smartphones and tablets that have been cutting into PC sales.

The company is finally beginning to make inroads in the mobile market, even outside of powering tablets running Microsoft’s Windows. A few smartphone vendors have experimented with Intel chip,s and the company’s powerful new Bay Trail CPUs will reportedly be powering a slew of upcoming Android tablets.

However, if Krzanich is able to achieve the mobile success that has eluded Intel, the victory could be a Catch-22. After all, mobile chips sell for a fraction of their PC equivalent. The Exchange’s Aaron Pressman suggests that even if Intel were to capture the entire tablet market, the revenue would basically replace the 30 million computer CPU sales Intel is expected to lose this year because of the slumping PC industry.

In other words, while Intel has the pieces in place to remain a viable technology company, slowing PC sales and an increased reliance on mobile CPUs don’t necessarily leave a lot of upside. Even if Brian Krzanich succeeds in turning Intel into a mobile contender, that’s not the same level of revenue as being a PC powerhouse.

Krzanich still has to impress investors who have waited more than a decade as INTC bounces between $20 and $30 after hitting $74 in 2000 … and that may be a tough act to pull off.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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