Just several months ahead of the launch of its pay-TV service, Intel Corp.’s media division has lost its vice president of engineering. Jim Baldwin, who served this role of Intel and prior to that worked on such projects as WebTV Plus, Echostar Dishplayer, DirecTV UltimateTV and Microsoft TV, has left the chip giant for unknown reasons.
An Intel Media spokesperson confirmed the resignation of Jim Baldwin in a conversation with GigaOM web-site, saying that “Baldwin left Intel Media to pursue opportunities outside the company”. Mr. Baldwin’s LinkedIn profile claims that he “retired” from his job at Intel. The reasons for a step down months before the launch of the service have not been mentioned by anyone.
“He will be missed, but we have a very strong engineering organization in place with a deep leadership bench,” said a spokesman for Intel.
A key executive parting ways with Intel Media company just months before the roll-out of the service begins is clearly not a good sign. However, the actual impact of his resignation is completely unclear given that few things are known about Intel Media in general.
The base of Intel’s smart Internet TV service will be a set-top-box powered by a specially-designed Intel system-on-chip that will be equipped with a camera to recognize the users and provide them relevant programs or services. The STB will provide live television, a collection of programs and TV-shows aired in the past, video rental service as well as other services. All-in-all, Intel wants to create an all-in-one solution that will provide convenience, but will not necessarily offer ways to cut-down TV bills. The new STB and service will not carry Intel brand-name.
At first glance, Intel’s TV service is nothing special as it will not introduce anything that will clearly differentiate it from the established market players. Quite naturally, the virtual TV operator will also not offer exclusive programs or TV-shows, something that Microsoft Corp. plans to unveil for its Xbox Live TV service in future. However, a major advantage of the Intel’s smart TV service will be its compatibility with mobile devices.
Intel's new Internet-based TV service also will be available on mobile devices, but it is unclear which will be the first.
"I absolutely and completely believe in the world of multiplatform ... anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Consumers and audiences expect that nowadays. Yes, we will make services available on other sockets, on other devices, and on other products just like at the BBC. But to get from nothing to 650 devices at the BBC literally took four years. That doesn't happen overnight, but yeah, you bet, that's completely part of the strategy," said Erik Huggers, vice president and general manager of Intel Media, who previously worked at BBC.