Bad Choices and Shifting Direction – Intel and Saudi Arabia

Sometimes, big companies make bad decisions. Just ask Xerox (XRX) about its decision regarding personal computers in the late 1970s – bad choice – or maybe ask Intel (INTC) about deciding to rely on desktop computers for their future, say, 10 years ago.

- The rate at which Intel makes technological advances suddenly seems to be slowing, and other looming trends, including artificial intelligence and perhaps virtual reality, look set to benefit a different kind of computer architecture.

Mind you Intel is not Xerox. Back then, shifting direction from copy machines to desktop computers was a really big deal (so they chose not to), but in today’s technological world, shifting direction is less about restructuring and more about capturing market share in the new direction.  Is Intel a budding opportunity to watch?

- "We need it, we need it, but I think in 2020 we can live without oil," Prince Mohammed said.

Saudi Arabia is a really big “company” beginning to shift direction. Unlike Intel or Xerox, though, this behemoth needs about $2-trillion to get the job done. The larger point here is the Saudis see oil giving way to yet another technological evolutionary trend – renewable energy.

-  Compared to corn, its leading biofuel competitor, sorghum requires less water and can thrive in drought and heat conditions where other crops die.

Biofuels are not tech-sexy, but they are a potential opportunity.

Finally, speaking of bad decisions …

- Volkswagen said it is taking a 16.2 billion-euro ($18.2 billion) hit to its 2015 earnings from a scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

Hallelujah …