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Intel CEO: We're cutting jobs to focus on growth

Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

Intel is the latest legacy tech company to announce a restructuring plan that includes laying off a significant number of employees.

The company announced Tuesday it will cut 12,000 jobs, roughly 11 percent of its workforce, by 2017. Shares of Intel were up more than 1.25 percent Wednesday.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told "Squawk on the Street " on Wednesday that while the decision was difficult, the company came up with the 12,000 number by making choices about how it planned to focus on profitability and growth.

"It was really a mixture of what actions do we want to do to drive the company to be more efficient, balanced against where do we want to spend money and how do we want to accelerate the change and the growth areas," he said.

One major concern investors have is whether Intel can survive in a declining PC market. Krzanich offered some optimism and said that PCs aren't going to disappear entirely.

"PCs will continue to transform. We have a lot of great innovation still yet to come on the PC, but I do think that what you're going to see is kind of a transformation of Intel as a business in that there's a lot of profitability," Krzanich said.

The company plans to focus on growth areas like its data center businesses, Krzanich said.

"[The PC market] will bottom out at some point, but what we really need to do is operate efficiently and maximize the profitability in that time," Krzanich said.

"The data center, the internet of things, memory ... those were all great quarters where they all grew this quarter, quite nicely. ... So we're going to accelerate in those areas, actually invest more as a part of this," he said.

Intel CFO: Job cuts tough but right decision

Another major concern coming out of the Intel's earnings is whether larger macroeconomic conditions in China will drag on the company's core businesses.

"China was definitely the area of the largest part of the weakness that we saw in the PC segment. But if you look at the data center, China was right on target and did very well," Krzanich said. "So again, you see this by segment how are things being affected."

Ultimately Intel's numbers out of China seem to mirror larger trends within the tech industry.

— CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan contributed to this report.