In a recent interview with Digit, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger talked about the company’s three big misses. In the last decade, there have been several technological innovations and big shifts in the industry. Gelsinger seems to regret not being able to take advantage of their unique position to capitalize on certain opportunities. So, here are Intel’s three mistakes, according to their CEO.
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger Points Out Missed Opportunities
In the interview, Gelsinger revealed three different areas in which he thinks Intel missed out. The first is Intel’s foray into the smartphone market. He said, “Yeah, we missed the mobile wave,” essentially saying that Intel isn’t significantly involved in the smartphone market. If you remember, Intel chips did exist in smartphones that used Intel processors back in the day (2004).
One example is the Samsung i700, which was based on an Intel PXA250 CPU with 400MHz speed. This was years before the first iPhone came out (2007). But today, Intel isn’t involved in the smartphone market.
The next thing Intel’s CEO discussed was the Larrabee project, saying that “we killed the one that would have made all the difference in the world.” This was the American chip maker’s attempt at making a proper graphics card.
Today, that vision has come to fruition in the form of Intel Arc graphics, which have recently gotten much better with newer driver updates. Larabee was going to be a graphics processor made from original Pentium-based CPUs. It aimed toward being a decent enough “GPGPU” (General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit) to accelerate all sorts of graphics-focused workloads.
However, the Larrabee project was shelved in 2009. The cancellation of Larrabee graphics happened soon after Gelsinger was pushed out of the Intel company. A few years later, he returned to Intel and became the CEO in 2021.
Lastly, Gelsinger talked about how Intel was “fundamentally biased to building a great foundry.” Essentially, Pat aims to tell us that Intel wanted to be a top-level semiconductor manufacturer. However, this plan somewhat backfired.
While we don’t know the exact details, maybe this ambition caused a delay in innovation and adopting newer manufacturing processes like EUV lithography, which is used for Meteor Lake chips. The 14nm node of Intel was used for a long time. It was during this time that TSMC gained a massive lead along with AMD who launched Ryzen processors, which have become popular today.
Siliconomy is a term that Intel coined, stating that semiconductor manufacturing is indirectly responsible for impacting $11 trillion of the global GDP (and $3 trillion in direct impact). Gelsinger also talked about how missed opportunities are always going to happen because it’s hard to get everything right. With the impending launch of 14th Gen Meteor Lake laptop chips next month, we will soon see Intel’s biggest shift in microprocessor architecture that has happened in the last few years.
So, what do you think of Intel’s mistakes? Do you think they could have been a bigger company if they never failed on the above plans? Let us know in the comments below.