Intel’s Days Of CPU Dominance Are Fading

Intel’s Days Of CPU Dominance Are Fading
Image: Fritzchens Fritz / Flickr

While the likes of Microsoft, Apple and other well known brands get most of the attention in the tech press, there’s one company that has been there all the way since the birth of personal computing. Intel’s processors and memory chips have been a foundational part of the world we live in for decades. But with many companies now entering the silicon business, Intel’s market dominance is reducing.

During Amazon’s annual shin-dig in Las Vegas this week, the company announced that they have designed and deployed their won ARM-based processors in data centres, eschewing Intel and the X86 architecture that has dominated the server market for many years.

Intel’s failure to see the importance of mobile processors created a gap for new architectures such as SnapDragon and Apple’s A-series. Many tech users will be saying “Intel?” Instead of “Intel Inside” – which made, at one stage, Intel one of the most recognised brands on the planet.

There was a time when Intel’s roadmap was how the rest of the computing world defined their plans. But that’s no longer the case.

Google announced a couple of years ago that it was “looking forward” to using alternatives from Intel’s rivals.

There’s ongoing speculation that Apple will abandon Intel for their laptop and desktop systems at some point although that is probably further away than many people imagine. Being able to run multiple operating systems in virtual machines remains an important application and a shift back to emulation would likely alienate many people. And there are lots of folks I know who like the Apple hardware but prefer to run Windows so they use Boot Camp.

It’s interesting that Microsoft also messed up on mobile but has rebuilt its fortunes on the back of the cloud – now exceeding Apple’s market value. Intel won’t be going out of business any time soon but if some of the most dominant cloud players, like Amazon and Google, are looking elsewhere for processors, then its market power is dwindling.

What is clear is that Intel’s plans are no longer a key determinant in the plans of its customers.


  • A simple test shows that ARM’s die about where the Intel begins. Google just shoved an i5 into the Pixel Slate for a good reason. People aren’t using AWS for performance, they are using it for responsibility. I actually enjoy watching the fanbois talking about their second rate processor and how they have a “middle button”. Of course, anyone who knows anything knows that Intel lost their dominance a long time ago with the Itanium and AMD invented the 64bit PC and Intel have had to play catch up. Intel got up by hyperthreading their CPU’s but AMD are now matching them. So here we are, professionals can use a Threadripper or an i9, and the fanbois can use multiple ARMs. Ideally I don’t like creating classes but if a bunch of people want to insist on a second rate processor, let them do it.

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