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Intel Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Intel's Expensive Disco Ball 324

Posted by timothy
from the dance-to-it-baby dept.
Re-Pawn writes "From the NY Times: The Disco Ball of Failed Hopes and Other Tales From Inside Intel (Registration Required.) Seems like Intel is losing market share to other chip makers - this article highlights a few problems that Intel has had including one very expensive disco ball made from a failed attempt to produce projection televisions."
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Intel's Expensive Disco Ball

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:24PM (#10947853)
    over at CNET [com.com], as I'm sure it is not required at many other sites.

    What's with the /. addiction to NYT?

  • Article text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <<spydermann.slashdot> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:25PM (#10947879) Homepage Journal
    (Courtesy of bugmenot.com ;-) )

    One sign that Intel is having trouble dancing to technology's current beat may be the world's most expensive disco ball.

    For a company holiday party next month, a handful of engineers assembled a disco ball - with hundreds of small reflective devices - to hang above the dance floor. The mirrors are leftover projection-television chips from Intel's planned effort to enter the digital television market - an effort the company recently abandoned only 10 months after a splashy introduction at the Consumer Electronics Show last January.

    The TV effort became yet another in a series of embarrassing stumbles for Intel. The company has publicly canceled a succession of high-profile projects, has replaced managers in money-losing ventures and has fallen behind its keen competitor Advanced Micro Devices in introducing technologies, like a feature that wards off viruses and worms, in markets that Intel has long dominated.

    A.M.D. has been so successful in stealing the spotlight from Intel lately that Kevin B. Rollins, the president of one of Intel's biggest customers, Dell Computer, said at a financial conference call this month that Dell was considering adding computers with A.M.D. chips to its product line.

    For two decades, Intel has been the most sure-footed of Silicon Valley companies. But lately, it seems to have lost its way. "They have made many wrong decisions and now it's time for soul-searching and structural, not cosmetic, changes," said Ashok Kumar, a financial analyst at Raymond James & Associates.

    This all portends an interesting inauguration for Intel's 50-year-old president, Paul S. Otellini, the longtime Intel marketing executive tapped by the board this month to become only the fourth chief executive in the company's history.

    Mr. Otellini does not officially take the job until May. But next week in one of his first official acts as the designated chief executive, he plans to present his strategy to Wall Street analysts. He may have a lot to answer for, including the 25 percent decline in Intel's stock price this year.

    Mr. Otellini will tell analysts that he plans to focus on four areas for growth: international markets for desktop personal computers, mobile and wireless applications, the digital home, as well as a new initiative aimed at large corporate computing markets that Intel is calling the Digital Office.

    The strategy is a significant shift - a "right-hand turn," as Mr. Otellini likes to say - from Intel's long-term obsession with making ever-faster computer chips. Instead, the company is now concentrating on what he calls platforms: complete systems aimed at both computing and consumer electronics markets.

    Mr. Otellini insists that the recent missteps, including the premature introduction he himself made of the digital project, are simply a result of over-optimistic marketing.

    "What was wrong was that I made the decision to go public on it at the Consumer Electronics Show," he said in a recent interview in Intel's Santa Clara headquarters. "Error of judgment. Mea culpa. I learned a lesson."

    The decision to preannounce an unproven technology was an uncharacteristic one for Intel, said G. Dan Hutcheson, president of VLSI Research Inc., and a longtime observer of the company. However, he said, it has been Mr. Otellini's ascendancy at the company that has changed the way it markets technology.

    "As he came into power Intel tried to become a more aggressive marketing company," he said. "They never seemingly made mistakes before and that was simply because they didn't preannounce. This is the classic failure of a company where the marketing guys are pushing the manufacturing guys more than what's there."

    Intel is still a technology giant, the global leader in semiconductors, with revenue last year of more than $30 billion. The company retains an unrivaled manufacturing capacity, control of a powerful desktop computing standard, and an enviable internat
  • Re:NYTimes :( (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:28PM (#10947909)
    login: slashdot03 password: slashdot03 ken sent me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:29PM (#10947922)
  • by kinema (630983) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:32PM (#10947960)
    If you would like to read the article but don't feel like registering you can as always use Google's NY Times referer [google.com] or checkbugmenot.com [bugmenot.com] for a login and password.
  • Use NYT Generator! (Score:5, Informative)

    by antdude (79039) on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:44PM (#10948080) Homepage Journal
    Clicky [nytimes.com] without logging in! Use NYT Generator [blogspace.com] for these NYT stories.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @06:59PM (#10948200)
    you forgot to note that the 10% is not for a given rnak group. I've seen managers take the hit because they believed no one on their team deserved an IR.
    This 10% bell curve is not strictly enforced, but rather a guideline (this from someone who's been near the bad side). In all reality, given a large population this curve fits pretty close, with or without enforcement. I have had bad management, so I moved and now work in an excellent department. I would not leave this corp for any other (except maybe google). One of our key workplace charters is: Be a great place to work. It is.
    -an AC INTC employee
  • Re:come on (Score:5, Informative)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:28PM (#10948892)
    "It applies to any laptop that has a Pentium M AND an intel wireless chip."

    AND the Intel 855 chipset.

    It's brilliant, actually. Intel has never advertised "Pentium-M", so people ask for a "Centrino" notebook. Because "Centrino" only applies when resellers use their wireless chip and chipset in addition to the Pentium-M, Intel effectively locks their resellers into selling Intel components when they might otherwise have not.

    Not that the Intel PRO/Wireless 2200 and 855 chipset are bad. I'm thoroughly impressed with the trio.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @11:27PM (#10949908)
  • failed chips (Score:3, Informative)

    by lingqi (577227) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:23AM (#10950138) Journal
    Mostly chips that fail are crushed and tossed. they are crushed because the chips contain your IP and you don't want, say, a compeitor finding a shiny (but bad) wafer in your trash and take a microscope to it - and face it, test is not 100% so that "defective" wafer you tossed out might actually be fully functional, more reason to fear the competitor getting your secrets*.

    i don't even think the crushed silicon is recycled - after dozens of litho runs, the chips have too much junk on it and it's cheaper to get the high purity stuff directly. So, unfortunately, just tossed.

    Now, if you befriend somebody in semiconductor industry, you might swing some bad wafers (or even better, blank wafers). let me tell you, ultrapure silicon polished to within atoms precision makes excellent mirrors - they have this erie purple / metallic colour. And you KNOW that your mug reflected in it is going to be the most precise image you will see of yourself. ever.

    too bad that these days wafers are cut so thin that they would curl if not packaged right away after the baking, though - ruins the mirror thing.

    *in packaging, the chips are embedded in resin, and it's a pain to get the resin off without ruining the circuit underneath, so it's a lot harder for someone to see your chip "naked." That does not prevent them from trying, though - it's time consuming but with enough patience and acid (to burn away the resin), you can eventually reveal the chip underneath.
  • Most likely... (Score:3, Informative)

    by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:34AM (#10950472) Homepage Journal
    Silver oxidises very easily. So, the only way you could use it would be to make the chips AND seal them in an oxygen-free environment. Clean-rooms are expensive enough, as are the suits they wear, but if they've gotta strap on tri-mix tanks to be able to do their work, you've upped the cost and the difficulty.


    Copper is therefore easier to work, and the heat issues aren't quite great enough to make silver a practical alternative, given the extra complexities.

  • by bob beta (778094) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @01:51AM (#10950531)
    Zilog makes a big chunk of the embedded controllers that go into remote controls. When I attended a Zilog seminar a number of years back, they had a lot of IR Remote features all built up and ready to roll with their Z8 processors. That's a hurtful 'niche' for the great Z-80 folks to have fallen to, though.
  • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:05AM (#10950577) Homepage
    Ehhh. Most people in the know just disabled the serial number in the BIOS, so it was a non-issue. AMD's offerings really didn't get much better than the Pentium line until right after the original Athlon.

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