The Break-Up of "Wintel"

The Break-Up of "Wintel"

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

After a terrific start to the month -- the S&P 500 is up 3.1% in September following six consecutive winning days -- stocks may be taking a breather this morning, with the index down 0.15% at 10:05 a.m. EDT. The narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.29%.

As it has become clear that there is little popular support in the U.S. (or in the U.K. or France, for that matter) for a military strike against Syria, President Obama is receptive to a Russian diplomatic initiative that would have the Syrian regime give up its chemical weapons, conveniently allowing him to save face in what now looks like one of the worst political miscalculations of his presidential career. As such, the political risk associated with military escalation has declined markedly over the past few days, and the odds are good that it will continue to do so -- enabling investors to focus on other factors.

Intel moves on
Chalk up another casualty to the mobile wars: "Wintel," the symbiotic relationship between Windows developer Microsoft and chipmaker Intel that defined the PC era.

Let me be clear: The relationship between the two will continue. We will continue to see desktops and laptops with "Intel inside." However, the chipmaker finally understands that in the post-PC era, it cannot allow itself to bind its fate to Microsoft's. Just as Microsoft remains an also-ran in the smartphone and tablet market behind technology rivals Apple and Google, Intel's chips have not capitalized on these product markets, losing out to processors designed by Arm Holdings.

In hindsight, it's remarkable that Intel unveiled only yesterday its first tablet processor designed specifically for Google's Android operating system. (Perhaps it would have required only a small amount of foresight to question why this did not exist, say, a year ago.)

But Intel is even looking beyond the smartphone and tablet markets with the unveiling of a new family of chips called Quark -- named after a subatomic particle -- that are aimed at wearable technologies such as smartwatches, as well as medical applications in which the chips would be ingested by the user! Whether or not Intel will be successful in this area remains to be seen, but shareholders ought to be delighted to see this tech stalwart take initiative again.

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Fool contributor Alex Dumortier, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned; you can follow him on LinkedIn. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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