Bottom line: Intel has a problem and it isn’t limited to renewed vigor from crosstown rival AMD. The company’s culture needs fixing and CEO Robert Swan has embarked on a mission to do just that.
The effort, described by The New York Times as a work in progress, involves pushing a message of unity and urging the company’s 110,000 employees to be more open about issues they may be facing. “If you have a problem, put it on the table,” Swan said.
Some of Intel’s obstacles also stem from the dominant position it held in the industry. Up until just recently, Intel more or less ruled the roost and dictated when computer makers would upgrade their products. But with Intel now targeting additional markets and AMD once again putting up a fight, Intel is having to make some changes.
As the Times notes, the rethink is affecting everything from communication between various divisions within the company to how it designs chips. Chipzilla is now implementing feedback from multiple groups when developing products and is tasking smaller groups to work on components independently rather than having to wait for other groups to finish their parts of a chip first.
Jim Keller, a senior vice president leading chip design efforts at Intel, said the chip design process can now be as much as three times faster thanks to the changes.
Even with the boat now perceived to be rowing in the right direction, it could still be years before the changes bear fruit on earnings reports. That’s especially true now with the uncertainty of the coronavirus compounded by the importance of China to Intel’s business. Last year, the region was responsible for more than a quarter of Intel’s $72 billion in revenue.
Image credit: Intel by sundry Photography. Moore's Law by Cayce Clifford.