The most common chip to power Mobile phones and other small form devices like iPods and iPads are ARM based CPU designs. ARM CPUs are designed in a different fashion then the X86 CPUs that are one of Intel's largest products. The company that designs the ARM CPU, ARM Holdings, doesn't manufacture its own CPUs but instead licenses the intellectual property to numerous other companies who produce the physical CPU.
ARM CPUs have a clear advantage over many of Intel's products, as while they aren't as powerful they consume less energy, a key consideration for portable devices. Due to this, this high growth area of CPUs (mobile phones, tablets... ect) is one in which Intel has very little presence and this looks unlikely to change in the near future. Instead ARM designed CPUs are making advances into more powerful devices, with Microsoft recently announcing that Windows 8 will run not just on X86 CPUs but also for the first time on ARM based CPU's.
On the positive side, there is nothing greatly technologically superior about ARM designed CPUs, the power efficiency gains compared to Intel X86 products come directly from having lower performance. As ARM tries to increase the performance of their designs there is very little reason to believe they will be able to match the performance of Intel designed CPUs while retaining the better power efficiency.
Due to the significant fixed costs in the industry and the somewhat volatile demand for their products (due to product cycles and general market swings) Intel may see periods, in both the short- and long-run, of significant revenue decreases. This may result from quick changes in the market demand and the difficulty that comes with reducing fixed costs in the short-run.
Being the largest player in the chip market, Intel is bound to run into anti-trust issues. Recently the European Commission found the company guilty of anti-trust abuse on May 15th 2009 and fined the company over $1.4 billion. Intel has filed an appeal to this fine, but with Japan and Korea also following suit with anti-trust violation rulings, Intel has a long road ahead of clearing its name and reputation.
The projects just got lower, and lower, and lower. From 10.1-10.9 billion, to 8.7-9.3 billion, and now with the world's largest chipmaker saying that their 4Q revenue was a mere 8.2 billion, down 23% from the latest projections. The cause? Sluggish PC growth has PC makers burning through their current chip inventories rather than buying more.
"In the newest MacBooks, Nvidia not only seized graphics turf from Intel, but it also took the chipset socket. Intel was relegated to supplying only the processor. That's analogous to Nvidia snagging a piece of prime Manhattan real estate right from under Intel's nose. While Intel holds on to Times Square, Nvidia walks off with Rockefeller Center."
With the rise of netbooks, can NVIDIA take more ground away from rival Intel?
The pricing war that began with AMD is not over. Despite cooling from a heated battle in 2006 and part of 2007, margins still suffer from competition. Intel's performance in the 90s was strongly related to the lack of competition it faced. Since AMD released its K6 processors in the late 90s, Intel has had pressure applied to its market share.
Intel is currently the leader in performance for microprocessors, but because of AMD recent history of successful R&D, this leadership is subject to Intel's own continued successful R&D efforts. Until the Core design, Intel slipped in relative performance and was bleeding market share. With AMD's ambitious Fusion platform (2009) in development, Intel's Nehalem project (2008) must be a success in order to maintain that performance lead.