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Intel freezes hiring for PC chip team, cites 'macroeconomic uncertainty'

Inflation, Apple M2, PC market shrink: Could the timing have been worse?

Intel's PC chip division is the latest team caught in the current tide of economic uncertainty, as the company freezes hiring in the group. 

In an internal memo obtained by Reuters, Intel told employees all hiring and job requisitions in the client computing group were on hold for at least two weeks. During that time, the chipmaker will reportedly be reevaluating its priorities with "increased focus and prioritization in our spending [to] help us weather macroeconomic uncertainty," Intel said. 

The client computing group, which designs end-user hardware, is Intel's largest by sales, having generated $9.3 billion of the $18.4 billion Intel made last quarter. Despite its place at the top, the CCG's Q1 takings were still down 13 percent compared to the same time in 2021. It was also the only Intel division to lose money compared to Q1 2021, another potential reason for the hiring freeze in the sector. 

CEO Pat Gelsinger told employees on Tuesday that, outside of the CCG, Intel was slowing hiring but still planned to bring 23,000 new people onboard in the next 90 days. The company also said all existing job offers in the CCG would also still be honored, unlike some other tech firms - looking at you Coinbase. 

Along with the hiring freeze, Intel said it also plans to save money by cutting travel for members of the CCG, limiting their participation in industry conferences and asking the team to hold meetings virtually.

Intel hasn't been having a great go of things lately: the chip giant's stock has lost 28 percent of its value in the past twelve months, Intel has been dethroned by Samsung as the most profitable chip manufacturer, competition between the Santa Clara processor purveyor and TSMC has been heating up and all the while it has lost Apple as a customer, causing further market share loss to the Arm-based M1 chips. 

The hiring freeze couldn't come at a much worse time, either: Just days ago Apple unveiled the M2 processor, kicking off a new generation of its in-house chips, which have already been a smash success for the iCompany. PC sales are also predicted to decline through 2022, with IDC forecasting an 8.2 percent year-over-year drop, the market's first in three years. 

Intel's other business units are a sensible place for the company to redirect funds: All are growing, following an industry trend of investing in datacenter and IT infrastructure in 2022. ®

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