Chip giant Intel (INTC) has had a rough fall, warning that business is getting much worse as the PC market slows. So how to juice growth? One idea: Start developing batteries for plug-in electric cars. That’s what former Intel Chairman Andrew Grove thinks the company should do, at least, according to the WSJ.
WSJ: Former Intel Corp. chairman Andrew Grove is pushing the world’s biggest maker of microprocessors to consider a new venture — becoming a manufacturer of advanced batteries for plug-in electric cars.
Mr. Grove, who retired in 2005 but still advises Intel, is urging the current chief executive, Paul Otellini, to steer the company into battery production as a way to diversify business as well as fill a strategic niche as auto makers shift to production of plug-in electric vehicles.
If the auto industry moves ahead with that strategy, it could require hundreds of thousands of batteries, but little manufacturing capacity exists in the U.S. Some experts caution that Chinese and Japanese companies, such as BYD Motors, Panasonic Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., are positioning themselves to dominate the emerging industry.
It’s unclear whether Intel executives intend to follow Mr. Grove’s advice. Mr. Otellini declined to comment, but a spokesman said that Intel already has investments in battery-related companies through its Intel Capital unit. “We consider battery technology important and we look at a lot of things. But whether we will do anything more, we can’t say at this time,” the spokesman said.
Potential synergy: A battery breakthrough that could let Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone work past dinnertime without recharging?