What just happened? Over at Mobile World Congress, Intel CEO Bob Swan had some interesting things to say about the PC market, 5G, and other plans for the company. In his first broadcast interview since moving from interim to permanent chief executive, Swan talked to CNBC’s Jon Fortt at the Barcelona event.
While it isn’t shown in the clip, Fortt says the conversation started on the industry’s current hot topic: 5G. Intel is apparently aiming to capture 40 percent of the 5G base station market, while its 5G modem chips are set for release later this year. We already heard that the XMM 8160 chip was being brought forward by six months, though Intel will still be playing catchup on Qualcomm, whose X50 modem is appearing in a slew of upcoming 5G devices, including Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G.
Swan stated that, like many US companies, he was excited by what appears to be the progress being made in US-China trade talks. “Global trade is good for the industry,” he said, adding that the thawing of relations would open up opportunities for Intel.
The CEO notes that Intel has had successive record years from 2016 onwards, and it expects the same for 2019. This led the conversation onto the state of the PC market, which Swan says is responsible for 50 percent of Intel’s revenue. He believes the industry will be stable this year, defined as plus or minus half a point. That’s pretty much what we saw last year: IDC had growth for PC shipments at -0.4 percent, while Gartner put it at -1.3 percent. Some would call this stagnant rather than stable, of course.
Swan added that while stability in the PC industry is good for Intel, the explosive growth comes from its data center business, though that's another area where it’s facing competition from AMD.
Check out the full interview below.