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Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC)(SEHK: 4335) is the world's largest semiconductor company and the leading manufacturer of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processor in IBM PC-compatible personal computers. Founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation and based in Santa Clara, California, USA, Intel also makes motherboard chipsets, network cards and ICs, flash memory, embedded processors, and other devices related to communications and computing. Founded by semiconductor pioneers Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, Intel combines advanced chip design capability with a leading-edge manufacturing capability. Originally known primarily to engineers and technologists, Intel's successful "Intel Inside" advertising campaign of the 1990s made it and its Pentium processor household names.
Intel was an early developer of SRAM and DRAM memory chips, and this represented the majority of its business until the early 1980s. While Intel created the first commercial microprocessor chip in 1971, it was not until the creation of the personal computer (PC) that this became their primary business. During the 1990s, Intel invested heavily in new microprocessor designs and in fostering the rapid growth of the PC industry. During this period Intel became the de facto monopoly supplier of microprocessors for PCs, and was known for aggressive tactics in defense of its market position, as well as a struggle with Microsoft for control over the direction of the PC industry.
By the early 2000s, Microsoft had passed Intel in power in the PC industry, and competitors had emerged in the advanced microprocessor market. Intel's November 2006 stock market capitalization was less than one-quarter of its 2000 high, and only 40% of Microsoft's.
Intel was founded in 1968 by Gordon E. Moore (a chemist and physicist) and Robert Noyce (a physicist and co-inventor of the integrated circuit) when they left Fairchild Semiconductor. A number of other Fairchild employees also went on to participate in other Silicon Valley companies. Intel's fourth employee was Andy Grove (a chemical engineer), who ran the company through much of the 1980s and the high-growth 1990s. Grove is now remembered as the company's key business and strategic leader. By the end of the 1990s, Intel was one of the largest and most successful businesses in the world, though fierce competition within the semiconductor industry has since diminished its position.
Intel has grown through several distinct phases. At its founding, Intel was distinguished simply by its ability to make semiconductors, and its primary product were static random access memory (SRAM) chips. Intel's business grew during the 1970s as it expanded and improved its manufacturing processes and produced a wider range of products, still dominated by various memory devices. While Intel created the first microprocessor in 1971, by the early 1980s its business was dominated by Dynamic random access memory chips. However, increased competition from Japanese semiconductor manufacturers had by 1983 dramatically reduced the profitability of this market, and the sudden success of the IBM personal computer convinced then-CEO Grove to shift the company's focus to microprocessors and to change fundamental aspects of that business model. By the end of the 1980s this decision had proven successful, and Intel embarked on a 10-year period of unprecedented growth as the primary (and most profitable) hardware supplier to the PC industry. After 2000, growth in demand for high-end microprocessors slowed and competitors garnered significant market share, initially in low-end and mid-range processors but ultimately across the product range, and Intel's dominant position was reduced. In the early 2000s then-CEO Craig Barrett attempted to diversify the company's business beyond semiconductors, but few of these activities were ultimately successful. In 2005, CEO Paul Otellini reorganized the company to refocus its core processor and chipset business on platforms (enterprise, digital home, digital health, and mobility). In September of 2006, the company announced a restructuring that resulted in a reduction of 10,500 employees or about 10 percent of its workforce by July of 2007.
In September 2006, Intel had nearly 100,000 employees and 200 facilities world wide. Its 2005 revenues were $38.8 billion and its Fortune 500 ranking was 49th. Its stock symbol is INTC, listed on the NASDAQ.
SRAMS and the microprocessor
The company's first products were random-access memory integrated circuits, and Intel grew to be a leader in the fiercely competitive DRAM, SRAM, and ROM markets throughout the 1970s. Concurrently, Intel engineers Marcian Hoff, Federico Faggin, Stanley Mazor and Masatoshi Shima invented the first microprocessor. Originally developed for the Japanese company Busicom to replace a number of ASICs in a calculator already produced by Busicom, the Intel 4004 was introduced to the mass market on November 15, 1971, though the microprocessor did not become the core of Intel's business until the mid-1980s. (Note: Intel is usually given credit with Texas Instruments for the almost-simultaneous invention of the microprocessor.)
From DRAM to microprocessors
In 1983, at the dawn of the personal computer era, Intel's profits came under increased pressure from Japanese memory-chip manufacturers, and then-President Andy Grove drove the company into a focus on microprocessors. Grove described this transition in the book Only the Paranoid Survive. A key element of his plan was the notion, then considered radical, of becoming the single source for successors to the popular 8086 microprocessor.
Until then, manufacture of complex integrated circuits was not reliable enough for customers to depend on a single supplier, but Grove began producing processors in three geographically distinct factories, and ceased licensing the chip designs to competitors such as Zilog and AMD. When the PC industry exploded in the late 1980s and 1990s, Intel was one of the primary beneficiaries.
Intel, x86 processors, and the IBM PC
Despite the ultimate importance of the microprocessor, the 4004 and its successors the 8008 and the 8080 were never major revenue contributors at Intel. As the next processor, the 8086 (and its variant the 8088) was completed in 1978, Intel embarked on a major marketing and sales campaign for that chip nicknamed "Operation Crush", and intended to win as many customers for the processor as possible. One design win was the newly-created IBM PC division, though the importance of the this was not fully realized at the time.
IBM introduced its personal computer in 1981, and it was rapidly successful. In 1982, Intel created the 80286 microprocessor, though IBM chose not to use that, embarking on an effort to produce its own x86 processor under a cross-licensing agreement with Intel. Compaq, the first IBM PC "clone" manufacturer, in 1985 produced a desktop system based on the faster 80286 processor and in 1986 quickly followed with the first 80386-based system, beating IBM and establishing a competitive market for PC-compatible systems and setting up Intel as a key component supplier.
During this period Grove dramatically redirected the company, closing much of its DRAM business and directing resources to the microprocessor business. Of perhaps more importance was his decision to "single-source" the 386 microprocessor. Prior to this, microprocessor manufacturing was in its infancy, and manufacturing problems frequently reduced or stopped production, interrupting supplies to customers. To mitigate this risk, these customers typically insisted that multiple manufacturers produce chips they would use to ensure a consistent supply. The 8080 and 8086-series microprocessor were produced by several companies, notably Zilog and AMD. Grove made the decision not to license the 386 design to other manufacturers, instead producing it in three geographically-distinct factories in Santa Clara (CA), Hillsboro (OR), and Phoenix (AZ), and convincing customers that this would ensure consistent delivery. As the success of Compaq's Deskpro 386 established the 386 as the dominant CPU choice, Intel achieved a position of near-exclusive dominance as its supplier. Profits from this funded rapid development of both higher-performance chip designs and higher-performance manufacturing capabilities, propelling Intel to a position of unquestioned leadership by the early 1990s.
486, Pentium, and Itanium
Intel introduced the 486 microprocessor in 1989, and in 1990 formally established a second design team, designing the processors code-named "P5" and "P6" in parallel and committing to a major new processor every two years, versus the four or more years such designs had previously taken. The P5 was introduced in 1993 as the Intel Pentium, substituting a trademarked name for the former part number (numbers, like 486, cannot be trademarked). The P6 followed in 1995 as the Pentium Pro and improved into the Pentium II in 1997. New architectures were developed alternately in Santa Clara, California, Hillsboro, Oregon, and Haifa, Israel.
Intel's Santa Clara design team embarked in 1993 on a successor to the x86 architecture, codenamed "P7". The first attempt was dropped a year later, but quickly revived in a cooperative program with Hewlett-Packard engineers, though Intel soon took over primary design responsibility. The resulting implementation of the IA-64 64-bit architecture was the Itanium and was introduced in June 2001. The Itanium's performance running legacy x86 code did not achieve expectations, and it inititally failed to effectively compete with 64-bit extensions to the original x86 architecture, first from AMD (the AMD64, then from Intel itself (the EM64T). Intel continues to develop the Itanium and the IA-64 architecture.
During this period Intel's Hillsboro team designed and introduced the *P6 Pentium Pro in 1995, the Willamette processor (code-named P67 and P68) and marketed as Pentium 4, and finally the 64-bit extensions to the x86 architecture, present in some versions of the Pentium 4 and in the Intel Core 2 chips.
In June 1994, Intel engineers discovered a flaw in the floating-point math subsection of the Pentium microprocessor. Under certain data-dependent conditions, low-order bits of the result of floating-point division operations would be incorrect, an error that can quickly compound in floating-point operations to much larger errors in subsequent calculations. Nonetheless, Intel decided to correct the error in a future chip revision and did not disclose it.
In October 1994, Dr. Thomas Nicely, Professor of Mathematics at Lynchburg College independently discovered the bug, and upon receiving no response from his inquiry to Intel, on October 30 posted a message on the Internet. Word of the bug spread quickly on the Internet and then to the industry press. Because the bug was easy to replicate by an average user (there was a sequence of numbers one could enter into Microsoft's calculator tool to show the error), Intel's statements that it was minor and "not even an erratum" were not accepted by many computer users. During Thanksgiving 1994 the New York Times ran a piece by journalist John Markoff spotlighting the error. Intel changed their position and decided to offer to replace every chip with a problem, quickly putting in place a large end-user support organization. This resulted in a $500 million charge against Intel's 1994 revenue.
Paradoxically, the "Pentium flaw" incident, Intel's response to it, and the surrounding media coverage propelled Intel from being a technology supplier generally unknown to most computer users to a household name. Dovetailing with an uptick in the "Intel Inside" campaign, the episode is considered by some to have been a positive event for Intel, changing some of its business practices to be more end-user focused and generating substantial public awareness, while avoiding (for most users) a lasting negative impression.
Intel Inside, Intel Systems Division, and Intel Architecture Labs
During this period, Intel undertook two major supporting programs that helped guarantee their processor's success. The first is widely-known: the 1990 "Intel Inside" marketing and branding campaign. This campaign established Intel, which had been a component supplier little-known outside the PC industry, as a household name. The second program is little-known: Intel's Systems Group began, in the early 1990s, manufacturing PC "motherboards", the main board component of a personal computer, and the one containing the processor and memory. Shortly after, Intel began manufacturing fully-configured "white box" systems for the dozens of PC clone companies that rapidly sprang up. At its peak in the mid-1990s, Intel manufactured over 15% of all PCs, making it the third-largest supplier at the time. By manufacturing leading-edge PC motherboards systems, Intel enabled smaller manufacturers to compete with larger manufacturers, accelerating the adoption of the newest microprocessors and system architecture, including the PCI bus, USB and other innovations. This in turn led to more rapid adoption of each of its new processors in turn.
During the 1990s, Intel's Architecture Lab (IAL) was responsible for many of the hardware innovations of the personal computer, including the PCI Bus, the PCI Express (PCIe) bus, the Universal Serial Bus (USB), Bluetooth wireless interconnect, and the now-dominant architecture for multiprocessor servers. IAL's software efforts met with a more mixed fate; its video and graphics software was important in the development of software digital video, but later its efforts were largely overshadowed by competition from Microsoft. The competition between Intel and Microsoft was revealed in testimony by IAL Vice-President Steven McGeady at the Microsoft antitrust trial.
Another factor contributing to rapid adoption of Intel's processors during this period were the successive release of Microsoft Windows operating systems, each requiring significantly greater processor resources. The releases of Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows 2000 provided impetus for successive generations of hardware.
Competition, antitrust and espionage
Two factors combined to end this dominance: the slowing of PC demand growth beginning in 2000 and the rise of the low-cost PC. By the end of the 1990s, microprocessor performance had outstripped software demand for that CPU power. Aside from high-end server systems and software, demand for which dropped with the end of the "dot-com bubble", consumer systems ran effectively on increasingly low-cost systems after 2000. Intel's strategy of producing ever-more-powerful processors and obsoleting their predecessors stumbled, leaving an opportunity for rapid gains by competitors, notably AMD. This in turn lowered the profitability of the processor line and ended an era of unprecedented dominance of the PC hardware by Intel.
Intel's dominance in the x86 microprocessor market led to numerous charges of antitrust violations over the years, including FTC investigations in both the late 1980s and in 1999, and civil actions such as the 1997 suit by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and a patent suit by Intergraph. Intel's market dominance (at one time it controlled over 85% of the market for 32-bit PC microprocessors) combined with Intel's own hardball legal tactics (such as its infamous 338 patent suit versus PC manufacturers) made it an attractive target for litigation, but few of the lawsuits ever amounted to anything.
A case of industrial espionage arose in 1995 that involved both Intel and AMD. Guillermo Gaede, an Argentine immigrant formerly employed both at AMD and at Intel's Arizona plant, was arrested for attempting in 1993 to sell the i486 and Pentium designs to AMD and to certain foreign powers. Gaede videotaped data from his computer screen at Intel and mailed it to AMD, which alerted Intel and authorities, resulting in Gaede's arrest. Gaede was convicted and sentenced to 33 months in prison in June of 1996.
Partnership with Apple
On June 6, 2005, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple would be transitioning from its long favored PowerPC architecture to the Intel X86 architecture. Reasons stated for the change were vague but included thermal issues with recent PowerPC G5 chips and an implication that the future PowerPC roadmap was unable to satisfy Apple's needs for computing power. In particular, the large power requirement of the G5 chip and subsequent heat generation was seen as a major stumbling block, preventing the placement of such a chip in one of Apple's laptop computers. The first Apple computers containing Intel CPUs were announced on January 10, 2006. Apple initially planned to put Intel chips in all of their computers by the end of 2007, but Apple managed to have its entire consumer product line running on Intel processors by early August 2006. The Apple Xserve server was updated to Intel Xeon processors from November 2006 and is offered in a configuration similar to Apple's Mac Pro.
Robert Noyce was Intel's CEO at its founding in 1968, followed by co-founder Gordon Moore in 1975. Andy Grove became the company's President in 1979 and added the CEO title in 1987 when Moore became Chairman. In 1997 Grove succeeded Moore as Chairman, and Craig Barrett, already company president, took over. On May 18, 2005, Barrett handed the reins of the company over to Paul Otellini, who previously was the company president and was responsible for Intel's design win in the original IBM PC. The board of directors elected Otellini, and Barrett replaced Grove as Chairman of the Board. Grove stepped down as Chairman, but will be retained as a special advisor.
Current members of the board of directors of Intel are: Craig Barrett, Charlene Barshefsky, John Browne, James Guzy, Reed Hundt, James Plummer, David Pottruck, Jane Shaw, John Thornton, and David Yoffie.
Origin of the name
At its founding, Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce wanted to name their new company "Moore Noyce". This name, however, sounded remarkably similar to "more noise" — an ill-suited name for an electronics company, since noise is typically associated with bad interference. They then used the name NM Electronics for almost a year, before deciding to call their company INTegrated ELectronics or "Intel" for short. However, Intel was already trademarked by a hotel chain, so they had to buy the rights for that name at the beginning.
By coincidence, the BBC television science-fiction serials A for Andromeda (1961) and its sequel The Andromeda Breakthrough (1962) had earlier featured a sinister multi-national electronics corporation named Intel, which had been involved in a plot to take control of a powerful computer constructed on Earth from alien radio instructions.
During the 1980s, Intel was among the top ten worldwide semiconductor sales leaders (10th in 1987), dominated by Japanese chip makers. In 1991, Intel achieved the number one ranking and has held it ever since. Other top semiconductor companies include Samsung, Texas Instruments, Toshiba and STMicroelectronics.
- Further information: Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Market Share Ranking Year by Year
The only major competitor to Intel on the x86 processor market is Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), with which Intel has had full cross-licensing agreements since 1976: each partner can use the other's patented technological innovations without charge after a certain time. Some smaller competitors such as VIA and Transmeta produce low-power processors for small factor computers and portable equipment.
In October 2006, a Transmeta lawsuit was filed against Intel for patent infringement covering computer architecture and power efficiency technologies.
Intel filed its response to an AMD lawsuit in September 2005, disputing AMD's claims, and stating that its business practices are fair and lawful. In its rebuttal, Intel laid out the skeleton of its legal defense, which included a deconstruction of AMD's offensive strategy and levied the charge that AMD's long-struggling market position is largely a result of bad business decisions and management incompetence, including underinvestment in essential manufacturing capacity and over-reliance on contracting out chip foundries.
Legal experts predict the lawsuit will most likely drag out for a number of years, since Intel's response indicates they are not likely to try to settle with AMD.
Competitors in PC chipsets include VIA Technologies, SiS, ATI, and NVIDIA. Intel's competitors in networking include Freescale, Infineon, Broadcom, Marvell, and AMCC, and its competitors in flash memory include Spansion, Samsung, Qimonda, Toshiba, STMicroelectronics, and Hynix.
Intel's market capitalization is $119 billion (November 8, 2006). It publicly trades on NASDAQ with the symbol INTC, and is a member of the following indexes: Dow Industrials, S&P 500, NASDAQ-100, SOX (PHLX Semiconductor Sector), and GSTI Software Index.
INTC is a widely-held stock, with almost 5.8 billion shares outstanding. Institutional investors and mutual funds hold 54% of this stock, and corporate insiders, including Gordon Moore and Andy Grove, hold only about 3%. Intel achieved its all-time high closing stock price on August 31, 2000 at $74.87. Since then, it reached a low closing price of $14.62 on September 23, 2002. As of November 2006 the stock price was about $20.
Intel has a Diversity Initiative, including employee diversity groups as well as supplier diversity programs. Like many companies with employee diversity groups, they include groups based on race and nationality as well as sexual identity and religion. In 1994, Intel sanctioned one of the earliest corporate Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender employee groups, and supports a Muslim employees group, a Jewish employees group, and a Bible-based Christian group.
Intel received a 100% rating on the first Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign in 2002. It has maintained this rating in 2003 and 2004. In addition, the company was named one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 2005 by Working Mother magazine. However, Intel's working practices still face criticism, most notably from Ken Hamidi, a former employee who has been subject to multiple unsuccessful lawsuits from Intel.
Intel has become one of the world's most recognizable computer brands following its long-running "Intel Inside" campaign. The campaign, which started in 1990, was created by Intel marketing manager Dennis Carter. The four-note jingle was introduced the following year and by its tenth anniversary was being heard in 130 countries around the world.
The Intel Inside program was very lucrative for advertisers and further served to broaden the company's awareness as an key ingredient inside PC's. Intel paid half the advertising costs for any ad that used the "Intel Inside" logo. If the ads didn't meet these requirements, Intel did not pay half the cost, and the advertiser was prohibited from using the "Intel Inside" logo. PC companies advertising products containing Intel chips are required to include the jingle in their film and television advertisements in order to receive the reimbursement.
The Centrino advertising campaign has been hugely successful, leading to the ability to access wireless internet from a laptop becoming linked in consumers' minds to Intel chips. In the UK this has caused some controversy, as the ASA upheld complaints that this was a misleading advert.
In 2006, Intel has expanded its promotion of open specification platforms beyond Centrino, to include the Viiv media centre PC and the business desktop Intel vPro.
In December 2005, Intel phased out the "Intel Inside" campaign in favor of a new logo and the slogan, "Leap ahead". The new logo is clearly inspired by the "Intel Inside" logo. In fact, sometimes "Intel Inside" is used, only this time with the processor name between the two words. Like so: "Intel Core Duo Inside".
In mid January 2006, Intel announced that they were dropping the long running Pentium name from its processors. They phased out the Pentium names from mobile processors first, when the new Yonah chips, branded Core Solo and Core Duo, were released. The desktop processors changed when the Core 2 line of processors were released. The Pentium name was first used to refer to the P5 core Intel processors (Pent refers to the 5 in P5,) and was done to circumvent court rulings that prevent the trademarking of a string of numbers, so competitors could not just call their processor the same name, as had been done with the prior 386 and 486 processors. (Both of which had copies manufactured by both IBM and AMD.)
Though some in the Macintosh community were concerned that Intel's branding, including the decals and jingle, would be used with the new Intel-based Macintoshes (see Apple Intel transition), this has not occurred.
Intel's "Intel Inside" campaign has generally been considered to be world class marketing. However, over the years there have been several plays on the Intel branding scheme which have appeared on the web. While such jabs at Intel are obviously beyond the company's ability to control, they do tend to show that not everyone believes that Intel's programs and policies are always world class. For example, there is the popular "evil inside" logo, the ubiquitous picture of a tombstone with "R.I.P Intel Inside" , and the descriptive "Idiot Outside" logo: .
The famous "D♭ G♭ D♭ A♭" jingle (MP3 file of jingle) was written by Walter Werzowa from the Austrian 1980s sampling band Edelweiss.
Sale of Intel's XScale processor business
On June 27, 2006, the sale of Intel's XScale assets was announced. Intel agreed to sell the XScale processor business to Marvell Technology Group for an estimated $600 million in cash and the assumption of unspecified liabilities. The move is intended to permit Intel to focus its recources on its core x86 and server businesses. Both parties advised they expect to close the transaction within five months, at which time Intel will continue manufacturing Xscale processors until Marvell secures other manufacturing facilities.
- Marvell buys Intel's handheld processor unit for $600 million
Intel and Free software
Intel has a significant participation in the open source communities. For example, in 2006 Intel released MIT-licensed X.org drivers for their integrated graphics cards of the i965 family of chipsets. On other occasions, Intel released FreeBSD drivers for some networking cards , available under a BSD-compatible licence, which were also ported to OpenBSD. However, after the release of the wireless products called Intel Pro/Wireless 2100, 2200BG/2225BG/2915ABG and 3945ABG, Intel is being criticised for not granting free redistribution rights for the firmwares that are necessary to be included in the operating systems for the wireless devices to operate.  As a result of this, Intel became a target of massive campaigns to allow free operating systems to include binary firmwares on terms acceptable to the open source community. Examples of negative press include an article by Linspire-Linux creator Michael Robertson in March, 2003. In the article titled: " Is Intel's "Centrino" Techno-Latin for "No Linux?"", Robertson goes on to outline the difficult position that Intel is in releasing to Open Source, but not wanting to upset their large customer Microsoft. Although Intel has received a significant negative attention as a result of the wireless dealings (for another example, Theo de Raadt of OpenBSD claimed that Intel is being "an Open Source fraud" after an Intel employee presented a distorted view of the situation on an open-source conference ), the binary firmwares still have not gained a licence compatible with free software principles
- ^ Worker Pleads Not Guilty in Intel Spy Case nytimes.com
- ^ Ex-Intel Engineer Sentenced to Prison Term nytimes.com
- ^ Guillermo Gaede pleads guilty findarticles.com
- ^ Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006 www.apple.com
- ^ Jobs: New Intel Macs are 'screamers' news.com
- ^ Transmeta Announces Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Intel Corporation www.transmeta.com
- ^ Intel Files Response To AMD Complaint www.intel.com
- ^ Intel's Legal Strategy Takes Shape www.forbes.com
- ^ Intel — commitment to diversity www.intel.com
- ^ Intel Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender Employees Home Page
- ^ The Intel Muslim Employee Group (IMEG)
- ^ Intel Jewish Community (IJC)
- ^ Intel Bible-Based Christian Network (IBCN)
- ^ IBCN website
- ^ Former And Current Employees of Intel www.faceintel.com
- ^ Anatomy of a Brand Campaign www.intel.com
- ^ Paul Morley on the Intel Pentium ad jingle Guardian Online
- David Mercer, IBM: How the World's Most Successful Company is Managed
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