Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Intel Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Intel's Expensive Disco Ball 324

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Intel's Expensive Disco Ball

Comments Filter:
  • come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lashi ( 822466 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:26PM (#10947896) Homepage
    oh, come on, what company doesn't burn some R & D money that ends up junked? I am sure all the "good" companies like IBM and so on have failed projects too.

    Now if you are doing this as a showcase of bad ideas, let's link a few more interesting samples.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:27PM (#10947905)
    Though the x86 now pretty much owns the consumer pc chip market unchallenged-- it's just that Intel isn't always the person shipping that x86 chip-- Intel's platforms are not doing so well in other areas. IBM's POWER chip, the chip the PowerPC is based on, is very very quickly becoming the new MIPS. All three of the next-generation video game systems-- the PS3, the XBox Next, and the Nintendo Revolution-- are known to use CPUs based off of a POWER core...
  • Re:NYTimes :( (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:28PM (#10947914)
    diy muh man []
  • Is about time! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elfarto ( 650512 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:28PM (#10947919)
    Well, never been a Intel Fan before, i don't like the bullying tactics applied to OEM distributors ala Micro$oft style, for me lower Intel share translates into higher quality and lower prices for the end user, and most important "freedom of choicee", so the next time joe user goes shopping for a new Worm/Spyware host because the old one is too slow, he will see more AMD and less Intel Inside. By the way, the disco ball may be useful for the next wave of laidoff intella employees who will dance to the rythm of "the pink slip blues", sorry for all of them, really sorry. $hitty corporate america has to keep the skyhigh CEO salaries somehow.!
  • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:33PM (#10947977) Homepage Journal
    oh, come on, what company doesn't burn some R & D money that ends up junked? I am sure all the "good" companies like IBM and so on have failed projects too.

    Yes, but I think the point is that Intel is somewhat lacking in the "recent successes" department to cover the losses on the failures - For now they're still happily on top of the market, and that is their strength, but they are losing mindshare, which really is crucial. The more that other chips are seen as perfectly viable options the faster Intel could lose market share.

    There is, of course, no reason to go counting them out just yet. I'm sure Intel has plenty of fight left, and potentially a few cards still up their sleeve. Compared to their position 3 or 4 years ago however, they are not looking anywhere near so good.

  • by jbridge21 ( 90597 ) <jeffrey+slashdot&firehead,org> on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:40PM (#10948038) Journal
    ... and they don't have pictures???!!!
  • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:41PM (#10948050)
    "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."

    The words "news of Intel's death were greatly exagerated," come to mind.

    It's like Microsoft wringing their hands over Linux; they _should_ be paying attention, but they've got a long way to go before they become number 2.

  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:42PM (#10948064)
    The Barrett era at Intel has been an unbroken string of failures. I fault the Intel board for not having the guts to purge him. The problem is, at any tech company, it is impossible to make painful (but necessary) cuts when the stock is going up. Everyone's attitude is "hey, we're making money, why rock the boat?"

    Even marketshare and technology takes a back seat to obsession over the closing price of the stock...this is what you get for obsessing over the very short term.

  • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:45PM (#10948093) Homepage Journal
    Wasn't centrino a success? It's low power and integrated wireless made AMD have to follow suit and revamp its mobile core line. Of course, the anti-intel slant (not you!) on this board tends to not see AMD failures.

    Yes, Centrino was a definite win for Intel. That means they're doing well in the laptop market, but are losing share on the desktop. And yes, AMD is not without its own issues: The Opteron hasn't been doing quite as well as they would like []. That's not exactly fatal, but its not exactly great press either.

    So, in summary: laptop: Intel, desktop: AMD, server: still up for grabs. The question is whether the laptop market will supercede the desktop market - certainly the laptop market is growing faster... it may have a lower ceiling though, and there's always Apple and the Power chips to compete with there, and Apple is quite strong in laptops.

    Only time will tell.

  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:48PM (#10948117)
    "AMD is struggling hard, as they always have, to hold a modicum of the market. They are still nothing more than a small Intel. Intel has proven again and again that all they can do is make CPUs. The dismisal of the p4 line is a sign they acknowledge the trend in low power computing.

    They are both about to get blown out of the water by Apple.

    Apple is about to introduce an entertainment server. Everyone knows the future is networked consoles, but Sony et al are still focusing on games only. Apple will introduce a device that will displace the PC in a very short time. Fortunately their suppliers have horrible fab capacity. It wouldn't surprise me if Apple built in x86 if their volumes get high enough.

    My bet is on the apple device."

    You are so full of shit that you don't understand up from down.

    1: Apple does not, and will not manufacture or design CPUs.

    2: AMD *does* design and manufacture CPUs.

    Intel and Apple *don't* compete because they don't manufacture the same products. Intel competes with AMD, Transmeta, IBM, VIA, Samsung, and other companies in a variety of fields.

    Apple competes with software companies - like Microsoft, PC companies - like Dell, and, more recently, with

    "Apple is about to introduce an entertainment server. Everyone knows the future is networked consoles, but Sony et al are still focusing on games only. Apple will introduce a device that will displace the PC in a very short time."

    A media server is going to "displace" the PC? What a load of crap. Analysts have been spelling doom for the PC for *years*. Cellphones were going to kill the PC. Or PDAs. Or "smart" TVs.

    Guess what? It's never happened. Because the PC is the best tool for communication. You can't displace the PC with a media center because, for most people, the PC isn't a media center. Most people use their PCs to get on the Internet. They surf the web and read email. A media server isn't going to displace that.

    "It wouldn't surprise me if Apple built in x86 if their volumes get high enough."

    Assuming your crackpot theory is correct, who do you think is going to manufacture those x86 chips?

    AMD or Intel. That's who. They are the only companies producing high-performance x86 CPUs. Heck, they are the only companies *capable* of producing a high-performance x86 cpu in the short term.

    "Everyone knows the future is networked consoles"

    If by "everyone", you mean crackpot analysts, then, yes, "everyone" knows that.

    Remember the PS2 hype? With it's FireWire and USB ports, the PS2 was supposed to be the "future networked console". It wasn't. It's just another game system, just like the XBOX. The PS2 hasn't killed the PC.

    "Fortunately their suppliers have horrible fab capacity."

    IBM can fab a lot more than you think. Not as much as AMD or Intel, but they have the resources to bring Apple as many PPC970 CPUs as they will need.

  • [OT] (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:51PM (#10948137)
    Gotta love the xenophobia on Slashdot. Your aware that the 'American Dream' was people leaving the low living conditions they grew up in and go to America and live at a much higher standard right?
  • by jedaustin ( 52181 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:54PM (#10948162) Homepage
    One word... VALUE!

    AMD makes good products. I've NEVER been burned when buying AMD processors. I've been buying them since the K6 chips.

    I once had a machine that would periodically crash (K6/2). I thought it was just windows, since windows crashed a fair amount anyway. One day on a whim I opened up the case and discovered the CPU fan was burned out. I'd been running it that way for over a year. I put a new fan in it and all was well.

    I had a P4 cpu fan go bad.. it was toast by the time I knew about it.
    I haven't tried that trick with newer AMD chips, but that experience was enough for me to stick with them since. Plus they're still usually cheaper.

  • Re:come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@monkelectric . c om> on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:54PM (#10948165)
    There is a Centrino Shortage [] BTW which is keeping the prices of those popular laptops way too hight IMHO. Not sure If Id call that a "success". They make a product people want, then they dont have it
  • *Sigh* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @07:55PM (#10948175)
    "We don't talk about the chip, but the collection of attributes that Intel brings," he said. "That's the footprint in the snow for Intel's future."

    In other words, it will take me more time to sort through the marketing bullshit to see what's really there.

    Unlike the typical luddite (forced to learn the technology), I prefer to know how the parts in my system work.

    I could buy a "portable centrino solution" (basically a pentium-m with integrated 802.11b/g) but I could just as easily buy a laptop with an external, better network card for cheaper.

    I don't like it when companies generalize for me. I don't like the term "gaming computer" or "workstation computer". What I do like is the performance I see in Athlon 64 4000+ benchmarks. Sorry but for my "gaming computer" a pentium 4 2.8 Ghz with 512 MB RAM doesn't cut it. I so often see this is the case.

    What some companies call "gaming computers" I call a mid level workstation.

    i.e. A Pentium 4 2.8Ghz with 512 MB of RAM and a Geforce FX 5600 is NOT a "gaming machine". I would call that a satisfactory computer for any use.

    Point being, I hate when companies generalize.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:01PM (#10948221)
    The bit about the "Bell Curve" and the bottom 25% at Intel is a myth - at least based on my personal experience. I worked for Intel for 4 years and was given my cards 2 years ago when the project that my group worked on was cancelled and we were ALL let go. Before that, we had heard stories that if you were in the bottom x% (we heard 10%) you were toast, however our group grew (as we were needed for the project) and no-one was axed. As a company, they may have an overall aim each year to get rid of the bottom x%, however I feel that this is a good aim looking at many of the useless workers that some companies accumalate over the years. Also, when we were all axed, Intel were much more generous with their severance package than local laws dictated. Whilst I realise that didn't do this just to be nice (they want to avoid negative PR), it's still the case that we were well treated and not just fired.
  • by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:04PM (#10948251) Homepage
    25% of what? You could have a room full of certified genius, but there would still be a bottom 25%.

    Imagine a 100m race with four people, the first comes in at say 9.8 seconds and each following one comming in 0.01 seconds later. By Intel's alledged reasoning you dump the fourth guy because he is not up to the grade. Yet 9.83 seconds would probably put you in the top ten 100m times of all time.
  • Re:come on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:15PM (#10948335) Homepage
    Any time you're selling more than you can make, that's a "success".
  • Re:come on (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:15PM (#10948339)
    oh, come on, what company doesn't burn some R & D money that ends up junked? I am sure all the "good" companies like IBM and so on have failed projects too.

    One big difference is that those "good" companies were also smart: they didn't go to the press and the trade shows and drum up a lot of hype over their R&D projects, saying they'd be releasing products based on them very soon. Yes, IBM did make the Linux wristwatch, but they also made it very clear this was simply a research project, and nothing more, and would not show up in stores any time soon. Intel made all kinds of noise about how they'd revolutionize the big-screen TV market with their LCOS technology, and it didn't work.

    This is not a way to inspire confidence in your company. The old story of the boy who cried wolf is very applicable here.

  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:26PM (#10948423) Homepage
    In my experience, Intel's chipsets are much more reliable than Via. I don't have any experience with nforce, but I've been burned by more than one flaky AMD board.

    I've learned my lesson on cheap hardware. It's not as cheap as it seems at Fry's.
  • by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:29PM (#10948454)
    ... for either the person submitting a story, or the editors, from hitting and finding the same story somewhere OTHER than the goddamn NYT that turns story links into login forms. 8& q=intel+disco+ball&btnG=Search+News

    How do I get into the 'get kickbacks from NYT for submitting stories to /. that link to the NYT reg form?' plan?
  • Re:NYT (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Cisco Kid ( 31490 ) * on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:43PM (#10948571)
    I dont want to maintain an account there, and their reg form is like 3 pages long, so I dont want to create one on demand either.

    Its just a royal pain in the ass. Who is it that keeps submitting NYT stories, and how hard would it be for them (or the ed) to quick hit googles newspage, and a link to the same story that actually *links to* the story.

    It should be part of the basic checks - the links given as part of a story submission should actually go to the story and not redirect to a login form. It defeats the entire point of the link.
  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @08:53PM (#10948643) Homepage Journal
    The real queston is how many of the 10-25% ended up at AMD or IBM?

  • by Cryofan ( 194126 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @09:32PM (#10948929) Journal
    You wrote:
    25% of what? You could have a room full of certified genius, but there would still be a bottom 25%

    THat is the core of the American-style neoliberal, laissez faire capitalism. It is darwinism. What's old is new again. THis is the way America was run for centuries, even before it was a country. Law of the jungle. We turned out backs on this earlier this century (New Deal, labor unions, etc), but now we are regressing to hypercompetitiveness. Europe is way way ahead of us in keeping hypercompetitiveness at bay.

    And it is not just the tech companies that do this. Many other high profile industries do this. Most law firms do this, at least the larger ones, and many smaller ones. The weakest performers of the bunch are told to leave every year. And the weakest performers are not bad, but they are just relatively weakest.

    The officer corps of the American armed services do the same: up, or out.

    Insanity, as far as I am concerned. And we swim in currents of death, all around us. Our lives are so short, and yet we subject ourselves to this nonsense. I can understand it in young people. They are too green, too inexperienced to see the forest for the trees. But why don't more older people call Bullshit on this? We have the ability to make our lives better. Why not do so?

  • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @10:11PM (#10949144)
    Chip speed is going to hit a brick wall soon.

    I think people said that in 1978.. and 1985.. 1989.. and 1994.. and blah blah blah.

    There is a long way to go before we hit the physical limits of existing technology. Then there is the technology that hasn't been invented yet. I'd like to own stock in the company that is most likely to come up with the latter, thanks.

  • by Bill Walker ( 835082 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @10:31PM (#10949239)
    I'm pretty certain that the New York Times, newspaper of record in the United States for over a century, does not need to seed Slashdot in order to drum up circulation.

    One of the attractions of conspiracy theories is the flattery of imagining you are important enough to spawn a conspiracy.

  • by reynaert ( 264437 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @10:38PM (#10949274)
    Your description pretty much matches most registered slashdot users. Cut the paranoia.
  • Re:come on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bani ( 467531 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @10:43PM (#10949301)
    no it's not. it's a failure.

    failure to correctly estimate market demand.
    failure to ramp up production to meet demand.

    the failure to meet demand means the prices are driven up, which in turn means intel is selling less product than they could have -- it is lost revenue.

    it also negatively impacts their product penetration, as cheaper alternatives can more easily compete -- so they lose market share as well.
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @11:43PM (#10949676)
    There is a long way to go before we hit the physical limits of existing technology.

    That may be true, but we may currently be very close to the economic limits. You simply can't crank the average power consumption of a PC beyond 200W before people start rejecting them because of power bills and excess heat. In the past, all problems with chip performance were made better by shrinking the die. However, the chip companies have recently gotten to the point where power consumption getting worse with geometry shrinks.

    In the 1960s, everybody assumed that supersonic planes would become common. After all, the technical problems had been solved and military planes were routinely hitting mach 3. However, real-world economic factors arose and 40 years later all commercial air traffic is still subsonic.

    We may hit a similar situation with CPUs: Shure, you could go faster, but for 99.9% of the applications, it just costs too much.

  • Re:come on (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday November 29, 2004 @11:55PM (#10949750)
    Any time you're selling more than you can make, that's a "success".

    A couple of times in the past, AMD themselves had come out CPUs that compared very favorably to Intel's then-current chips. However, they ran into fab problems and never got production and market share up before the next cycle where Intel leapfrogged them. That was certainly a failure; they didn't recoup enough of their investments and AMD's very survival has been in question a couple of times. It's taken many years for them to battle back from their past mishaps into their current apparently healthy state.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @12:44AM (#10949981)

    Depends how it works. Honeywell, nee Allied Signal, and GE, run the plan more or less like this: Take a new job and you are exempt from the ranking system for two years. After that, you get ranked just like everybody else. Now, if the new guy who screws up can't get blamed, who does? This clever scheme tends to promote two things: Job hopping, and more experienced employees disappearing. The disappearance of more experienced employees also just happens to cut labor and pension costs for these two very bottom line oriented companies. Cute, eh? Pre-merger Honeywell (Honeywell + Allied Signal = "Honeywell") had an average employee retention of ~ 16 years. Allied Sigal ~ 6 years. You do the math. The practically guaranteed terminations also, no doubt, work wonders for the culture and work environment.

  • by cheekyboy ( 598084 ) on Tuesday November 30, 2004 @02:13AM (#10950384) Homepage Journal
    No, but if every employee is rated between 97.0 and 99.0, then there ALWAYS will be a bottom 25% no matter what except if everyone is 100% top notch, but humans arent robots.

    So that bottom 25% might still be damn good, but they might have other issues.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM