Windows 8 represents a new kind of Windows release for Intel, in terms of the opportunities to expand into new markets, and the threats posed to the chipmaker's core PC processor business.
On the one hand, the chipmaker sees the new Microsoft operating system as a way to drive traditional PC sales, as well as to crack the tablet market dominated by Apple’s iPad.
“It’s a watershed event,” Otellini told AllThingsD in a telephone interview Wednesday. “The fact it spans from traditional PCs and tablets and then in all the hybrid devices in between is really very powerful. It allows the hardware side to really exercise creativity in a way that we haven’t been able to do for quite some time.”
However, the release also presents new challenges, and comes at a time when PC sales are under pressure from a weak economy, with consumers opting to spend their electronics budget on other purchases, including tablets.
Intel has already warned that it expects slower-than-traditional PC growth in the fourth quarter, though Otellini said it is hard to say how much Windows 8’s move into tablets might help things.