Back in early 2001, Intel announced Itanium processors with high hopes to kill of the x86 architecture that has dominated computers for a long period of time. However, the results were far from mind blowing and the company recently confirmed PCWorld that it will stop shipping the processors after finishing the Itanium 9700- series.
As mentioned earlier, Intel had extremely high hopes for the processor family as Itanium was intended to feature in the high end servers before making its way into personal computers. However, early Itanium chips drew excessive power and surprisingly, AMD had a surprisingly big role to play as it launched 64-bit x86 processor ahead of Intel. As Intel launched its 64 bit x86 chips shortly thereafter, Itanium became a lesser known product from the company that has been dominating the processor market for such a long period of time.
Apart from drop in market interest, Intel found itself under pressure as Microsoft dropped support for the product and HP, the major customer and co-inventor of the chips, went to sue Oracle as the company stopped development of the product. Intel then shipped its focus towards Xeon processor which did the perfect job for the company.
This move isn’t surprising given that back at the time, computer market was booming and at present, the market for processors are expanding as other areas like drones, wearables are becoming commonplace. As a result, moving towards these field makes perfect sense for the company.