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Intel's Atom chip chief goes mobile

'Pursuing other interests'

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Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, has left the company.

In a one paragraph statement issued on Intel's Chip Shot PR blog, the company said that Chandrasekher is leaving Intel to "pursue other interests."

The statement said that Mike Bell and Dave Whalen, who are both vice presidents in the Intel Architecture Group that designs and makes its PC and server processors and chipsets, will co-manage the Ultra Mobility Group. This is the part of Intel that is primarily involved with the Atom processors, used in netbooks and some low-powered servers, these days. Intel has launched variants of the Atoms for smartphones and (at least publicly) has high hopes in taking on ARM-based designs, which utterly dominant the smartphone sector.

"Intel remains committed to this business," said David Perlmutter, executive vice president and Intel Architecture Group general manager, in that statement. "We continue to make the investments needed to ensure that the best user experience on smartphones and handhelds runs on Intel Architecture, and to ship a phone this year."

Back in the late 1990s, Chandrasekher was the technical assistant to Craig Barrett, who was chairman of the Intel board until 2009 and who was chief executive officer before Paul Otellini took that job in 2005. That technical assistant job means something at Intel and Chandrasekher was one of the obvious candidates to replace Otellini in about five years when he retires. (Pat Gelsinger used to be in position for that job, or at least it looked like it from the outside, until he took a job at EMC in September 2009 to become president of its Information Infrastructure Products division.)

Chandrasekher, who spent 24 years at the chip maker, was tapped to create and run its Workstation Platform Group in 1997, and was responsible for the marketing and ramp of the Pentium 4 processor. He also lead the team that brought the Centrino family of low-powered processors for laptops and notebooks. The Atom chip is a spin-off of the Centrino and was under his control as well.

The consensus out there on the Intertubes is that the success of the army of ARM processors in the smartphone and now tablet markets and the demise of the MeeGo mobile Linux variant now that partner Nokia has taken $1bn from Microsoft to adopt Windows 7 instead are what did Chandrasekher in at Intel. But no one at Intel is talking, and it is possible that Chandrasekher has other plans and actually did leave to pursue other interests. I mean, that can't always be a lie, can it? ®

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