What just happened? Intel has announced it no longer plans to make its Next Unit of Compute (NUC) machines. But the tiny devices will live on as Team Blue is encouraging its partners to continue creating the small form factor PCs.
"We have decided to stop direct investment in the Next Unit of Compute (NUC) Business and pivot our strategy to enable our ecosystem partners to continue NUC innovation and growth," said Intel's EMEA comms manager of client computing and graphics, Mark Walton, in a statement to The Verge.
Intel emphasized that it will continue to support NUC products that are currently on the market, and that the decision to move away from NUC development will not impact the remainder of its Client Computing Group (CCG) or Network and Edge Computing (NEX) businesses. The company added that it is also working with partners and customers to ensure a smooth transition and fulfillment of all its current commitments.
Intel said that customers can continue to order NUC products via its distribution network until September 1, 2023, with anticipated last-time shipping of September 30, 2023. It will publish a formal Product Change Notification (PCN) for any impacted products, including timelines for EOL process.
Intel didn't explain why it is pulling back from its NUC business, but the second quarter's 13.4% year-on-year decline in global PC shipments and cautious consumer spending likely played a big part. The NUC models have also been fighting in a challenging mini-computer market, one dominated by the likes of the Mac mini and corporate offerings from Asus, Dell, and Lenovo, and so the move isn't a total surprise.
In April, Intel posted its biggest quarterly loss in company history, with its PC-focused Client Computing Group's revenue down 28% YoY.
The NUC business is just the latest venture Intel has dropped. It previously discontinued of its Optane memory business and sold its server-building business to Taiwanese company Mitac in April.
The first NUC arrived in 2013 as a barebones kit. Intel had offered larger and more powerful versions aimed at consumers, enterprises, and gamers in recent times, and managed to move over 10 million units across the PCs' lifetime. It was only in March that the company launched the customizable NUC 13 Pro, codenamed Arena Canyon, in a variety of configurations including standalone boards, barebones kits, and fully built systems in slim and tall form factors.