It's not just computers that have 'Intel Inside'. The world would be a very different place had it not been for the American company that invented the microprocessor, a tiny silicon chip that allows electrical products to "think" for themselves. Almost all electrical appliances now contain microprocessors, from toys to washing machines, from cars to traffic lights, from telephones to thermostats. And computers of course. Around 80% of PCs worldwide operate on Intel microprocessors, and the company has powerful alliances with virtually all of the world's biggest manufacturers. However these represent only part of the wider global semiconductor market. Since 2006, Intel has worked hard to widen its market to smartphones and other high-end devices, and also to diversify into other technological fields. So far though it has enjoyed mixed success in this area, and several sidelines - including security and programming software, streaming media technology, smartphone modem chips and more recently flash memory products - have been abandoned. However, the company does continue to push hard into the "internet of things" market, and it gained a solid foothold in the field of datacenter servers with the 2015 acquisition of Altera, the world's second largest developer of programmable chips. Intel also makes a variety of other computing components. Fierce competition from main chip rival Samsung relegated Intel to second place in the wider semiconductor sector in 2018, but it regained its lead once more during 2019. It had around 15% global share in 2020 to Samsung's 12%. In 2017, Intel launched another push into new markets with a deal for Israeli company MobilEye, which makes chip-based camera systems that help autonomous cars visualise the driving environment around them. In 2019 it expanded its profile in programmable datacenter chips with the $2bn purchase of Israeli firm Habana Labs. So far, these other bets have enjoyed only modest success compared to Intel's core business in computer chips; however, the continuing demand for ever more extensive computing power has continued to push up sales. Yet despite its sales performance, Intel has steadily lost share and also to some extent its reputation for cutting-edge technology, compared to rivals such as Nvidia, TSMC and Samsung. An especially heavy blow was Apple's decision to begin phasing out Intel chips in favour of its own components. For 2020, revenues hit a new high of $77.9bn, but net earnings slipped back to $20.9bn. PC components account for a little over half of revenues and data centers for around another third. In 2018, CEO Brian Krzanich stepped down abruptly for infringement of company policies regarding personal relationships with fellow employees. He was succeeded by Bob Swan, formerly CFO. However Swan too was ousted a little over two years later and replaced in early 2021 by Pat Gelsinger, a former long-time Intel engineer who had most recently been CEO of software developer VMWare.
Capsule checked 25th May 2021
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Who are the competitors of Intel? Samsung is Intel's main competitor in semiconductors, and the two companies have been jostling one another for overall market leadership for the past few years. Some way behind sit SK Hynix and Micron Technology. See IT Sector index for other companies. Also see Best Global Brands ranking.
Historical profile information for Intel
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Aug 2021: Despite Intel's breakneck efforts to regain technological leadership in the semiconductor industry, it suffered a new blow in 2Q when it was overtaken in chip sales by arch-rival Samsung. Intel was already widely regarded within the industry as having fallen behind rivals Samsung and TSMC in terms of technological innovation. Both Asian companies have overtaken Intel in their ability to cram higher numbers of even tinier transistors on a single chip. Crucially, both competitors also manufacture chips under "foundry" contracts for other designers such as Nvidia and AMD. The huge surge in global demand for semiconductors allowed Samsung to gain precedence during the latest financial quarter with sales worth around $19.7bn, ahead of Intel's $19.6bn. The latter figure also includes around $1.1bn from a unit Intel is in the process of divesting. It is the first time since 2018 that Intel has fallen behind the South Korean giant.
Adbrands Daily Update 17th Mar 2021: "Justin Gets Real". Now I'm no Apple fan boy - PC born and bred, that's me - but even I'm not sure about Intel's new campaign from VMLY&R. Actually, knocking ads in general aren't top of my list, but I have to admit the old "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" from almost two decades ago with actors Justin Long and John Hodgeman got away with it because they were always very, very funny. Even PC guys like this writer were prepared to take a good joke at their own expense. Now here we are in 2021, with Intel still smarting from getting dropped last year as Apple's chip supplier, and Justin Long... well, looking for work. If you wanted to be mean you could say no one likes a turncoat. But really, however on the nose the cited advantages of PC over Mac might be in the first five (yes, five!) ads released so far, their real weakness is, yep, they're not funny; just snarky.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Jan 2021: Intel ousted CEO Bob Swan in response to pressure from activist investment group Third Point to improve performance. Rivals such as Nvidia - now more valuable by market cap than Intel - have boosted profits by outsourcing manufacturing to third parties, while Asian competitors TSMC and Samsung have been more successful at finding ways to shrink the size of their transistors, stealing Intel's coveted position as the world's most advanced chipmaker. Meanwhile Intel itself was forced to announce repeated delays to the launch of its latest chip technology as a result of tech stumbles. CEO for a little over two years, Swan was replaced by Pat Gelsinger, previously leader of software developer VMWare.
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Oct 2020: In another move away from less profitable product lines, Intel agreed to sell its flash memory manufacturing business to rival SK Hynix for around $9bn. The deal will make the Korean company the clear #2 in that sector after Samsung. It also moves Intel more or less completely out of the memory business. The company said it will use the proceeds from the sale to develop a stronger presence in AI and 5G networking.
Adbrands Daily Update 23rd Jun 2020: In its first-ever virtual worldwide developers' conference, Apple unveiled hundreds of design and functionality tweaks to its operating system and other software, including a Siri translation service and sleep tracking on Apple Watch. However the most significant change was the termination of a 15-year partnership with Intel for the processors which power its Mac computers. The company said it will begin phasing out Intel chips later this year in favour of processors designed inhouse, which will improve battery life and allow for faster processing speeds and additional security features. Apple already produces chips for its iPhone and iPad inhouse, so the transition from Intel will allow for greater integration of Mac computers with Apple's handheld devices on a single unified platform.
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