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Intel has announced a major shake-up that will see it reorganise its key operations around technology platforms rather than separate products.

It's the brainchild of Intel president, COO and soon-to-be CEO Paul Otellini, who said of the shift: "The new organisation will help address growth opportunities by better anticipating and addressing market needs [and] speeding decision making.

"Each operating unit has the autonomy to allocate computing and communications resources to be successful, making Intel's entire structure consistent with our platform products strategy."

Those units include Digital Enterprise, Digital Home and Digital Health Groups, along with Mobility and Channel Products Groups.

The Mobility Group, for example, merges the notebook x86 chips and mobile chipset products with Intel's ARM-based XScale PDA and mobile phone-oriented offerings, all in the care of former Communications Group chief, Sean Maloney, and joint head of the old Mobile Platforms Group, David Perlmutter. Maloney used to run Intel's wireless initiatives, including Wi-Fi and WiMax product development. It's not yet clear whether they will remain under his remit or pass to Don MacDonald's Digital Home Group, which focues on home computing and communications platforms and for which Wi-Fi will be a key technology. They're also relevant to the Digital Enterprise Group, under CTO Pat Gelsinger and Abhi Talwalker, of the old Enterprise Platforms Group.

Louis Burns, former head of erstwhile Desktop Products Group, will take charge of the Digital Health Group to "explore business opportunities for Intel architecture products in healthcare research, diagnostics and productivity, as well as personal healthcare". It's a new market focus for Intel, but clearly one that leaves Burns with a lower-profile position than his previous post provided.

How all this will sit alongside the development of key products, such as the Pentium 4 family, remains to be seen. The P4 has a role in all three of the Mobility, Digital Home and Digital Enterprise Groups - so who gets to define how the CPU line will evolve? If they all have an input, there's the strong risk that future chips could become too broadly defined to meet the precise needs of each market.

Intel will retain its Corporate Technology Group, under Justin Rattner on an interim basis while a replacement is sought for Gelsinger, and this may provide some level of oversight for such cross-group product lines. Unchanged too is Intel's Technology and Manufacturing Group, as presumably is the chip giant's investment wing, Intel Capital, though it wasn't actually mentioned by name.

Meanwhile, Anand Chandrasekher, formerly head of Mobile Platforms Group will replace Jason Chen as joint head of Intel's Sales and Marketing Group, who is leaving at the end of the month to focus on "health matters affecting his family". Chandrasekher will work alongside Eric Kim, who joined Intel as VP and Director of Sales and Marketing last September from Samsung.

Finally, Bill Siu, formerly joint head of Desktop Platforms Group (with Burns), becomes inaugural chief of the new Channel Products Group, which will take charge of boxed processors and the like, all of which need adapting for local markets. ®

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Intel's record Q4 run ends with profit drop
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