INTERNET WORLD: Intel's CEO analyses Net economy

If you think you're having trouble keeping pace with the Internet, you're not the only one, according to Intel CEO Craig Barrett. Even the Internet itself is scrambling to keep up with the explosion.

If you think you're having trouble keeping pace with the Internet, you're not the only one, according to Craig Barrett, Intel's chief executive officer. Even the Internet itself is scrambling to keep up with the explosion.

The juggernaut growth of the Internet is putting unyielding pressures on the computer servers that run it, Barrett said Wednesday, at an Internet World keynote address. Over the next five years, the Net will see a huge demand for new computer servers and the processing power to handle more voice and data traffic, he added.

Businesses had better get hip to the Net as it continues its exponential growth, Barrett contends. He predicts in five years, one billion computers will be connected to a one trillion-dollar electronic commerce market. Barrett warns that businesses should be concerned, lest they loose out on a piece of the e-commerce pie.

His message is hard to miss: businesses must become Internet companies, or die.

Surviving in the new world of e-commerce means crafting business models that do more than simply sell products and services over the Internet; businesses need to incorporate the Net into their day-to-day functioning, according to Barrett. He recommends a three-part process: building a company's infrastructure, modifying business processes, and exploiting the data and "feedback loops" that the Internet offers so businesses can stay in better touch with their customers.

Faster, Tougher Applications

That's all good news for consumers. As Barrett pointed out, the better companies streamline electronic business models, the better for their customers. It also helps if you have the latest Pentium processor, he notes.

Demonstrating the latest in Pentium III-enhanced content on the Web, Barrett showed how Intel streaming and imaging technology improves consumers' window-shopping experience on the Web.

High-speed Internet access for home users will drive new applications that require more powerful chips, he noted. Barrett expects chip-speed demands to grow as technologies like voice recognition play a larger role on computer desktops.

What company is ready to go the distance, according to Barrett? You guessed it: Intel.

Using his platform to pitch the upcoming release of the Intel processor, Itanium, and the Pentium III chip, Barrett outlined how Intel plans to cure what ails the Net.

The company wants to move from being the building-block supplier to the computer industry to being the building-block supplier to the Internet economy, Barrett said. This shift involves investing in communications and networking companies, and moving toward providing Internet data services.

Among those deals is Intel's acquisition on Tuesday of IPivot, an Internet-commerce equipment manufacturer.

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