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New CEO vows Intel will be more responsive in mobile push

Intel Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich poses with a Front Opening Unified Pod, a transport unit for computer chip wafers, with each FO
Intel Chief Operating Officer Brian Krzanich poses with a Front Opening Unified Pod, a transport unit for computer chip wafers, with each FO

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp's new CEO Brian Krzanich said on Thursday that under his leadership the top chipmaker will be more responsive to customers in an intensified focus on the fast-growing smartphone and tablet market where it lags its rivals.

Krzanich took over as chief executive at Intel's annual shareholders meeting, replacing Paul Otellini, who in November unexpectedly announced his plan to retire. Under Otellini, Intel has been sidelined in smartphones and tablets while demand for its PC processors is on the wane.

"Yes, we missed it, we were slow to tablets and some of the mobile computing. We do believe we have a good base," Krzanich told shareholders at an annual meeting.

Krzanich, a 30-year Intel veteran who made his name running Intel's cutting-edge manufacturing plants, said he and software honcho Renee James, who the board elevated to president, have already started meeting with manufacturing customers.

"They're all showing us - here's where the market's moving and here's where we need Intel to move," Krzanich said. "We're going to make adjustments in our architecture and our product choices."

Intel for decades has called the shots in the personal computer industry but it was slow to react to the explosion of smartphones and tablets, markets now dominated by competitors like Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics, which design their chips using architecture licensed from ARM Holdings Plc.

Intel's strength has traditionally come from its manufacturing prowess, and Krzanich's promotion is seen as confirmation by the board that the company's multibillion-dollar network of cutting-edge factories still holds the key to success.

James' promotion underscores a belief in Intel that software and other related services are also important ingredients.

"I think the emphasis is important," Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith said of Krzanich's remarks.

"A focus on the end-customer, a focus on execution and a really strong focus on the ultra-mobile segment of the business. That's pretty important," Smith told Reuters.

Last week, Intel unveiled the most extensive overhaul to date of its Atom mobile processors that underpin its push into smartphones and tablets.

Intel's processors have been used in a handful of smartphones in Asia, Africa and Europe but the company has yet to release Long Term Evolution, or LTE, a high-speed wireless technology already offered by Qualcomm and increasingly found in smartphones launched in the United States, including Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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