Intel has decided to exit the motherboard market. For around 20 years, Intel has been making their own-branded desktop motherboards to accompany their processors but this will come to an end after the launch of Haswell is completed. Intel will still keep producing chipsets and supporting other motherboard manufacturers but Haswell will be last platform to get Intel-branded desktop motherboards. Once the launch of Haswell is completed (this usually takes around 18 months from the launch day), the chip maker will completely cease the production of motherboards. However, Intel will stand by their products in their warranty period.
This decision only applies to retail desktop motherboards. Apart from these, Intel produces boards for their internal usage or as reference designs for ultrabook, tablets and other motherboard manufacturers. The company will also continue to produce motherboards for their NUC platform and its future iterations. These operations will continue even after Haswell. The workforce currently working in retail motherboards department will not be laid off, instead they’ll be assigned new position in other sections of the company.
Since Intel will still keep producing reference motherboard designs for partners, it means that the overall quality of the motherboards will not drop in any case as most motherboards by companies like ASUS, GIGABYTE, ASRock etc. are based on reference designs provided by Intel.
This decision is surely tied to the swift shrinking of desktop market as most of its space is being invaded by notebooks, tablets and other small form factors. All in all, this put an end of a great era which started around 20 years ago.