Intel today is a leading manufacturer of semiconductor computer circuits that has its headquarters in California. The company even derived its name from the words “integrated electronics.”
This incredibly successful brand is the brainchild of Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore that was founded in July 1968 with the help of $2.5 million of funding from American financier, Arthur Rock. Intel’s founders were not children in a basement like so many other technological start-ups, rather they were middle-aged technologists who had spectacular reputations.
Before creating Intel, Noyce had co-invented the silicon integrated circuit. Moore was the head of research and development. Both men worked at Fairchild Semiconductor. Once they began the Intel company, they hired even more Fairchild employees, most notably the Hungarian-born Andrew Glove. Noyce, Moore, and Glove served as the CEO and chairmen of the company for its first three decades of existence.
Early Products of Intel
Intel began its journey by making memory chips. They even created the world’s first metal oxide semiconductor, called the 1101. Unfortunately, the 1101 did not sell well. However, when Intel created a sibling to the 1101, a dynamic random-access memory chip (DRAM) called the 1103, they found success. Honeywell Incorporated purchased this memory chip and made it the core memory technology in their computers in the 1970s.
After this success, Intel became a public company and produced the erasable programmable read-only memory chip (EPROM), which would become the most successful product of the company until 1985. During this same time, 3 Intel engineers developed a general-purpose 4-bit microprocessor and the first single-chip microprocessor, called the 4004, for the Nippon Calculating Machine Corporation in Japan. Intel was even allowed to keep the rights to this technology.
Not All Endeavors are Fruitful
Intel did experience failure in its early years. The company tried to enter the digital watch market in 1972 by purchasing Microma, but ended up losing $15 million when they had to sell the company in 1978 due to a lack of understanding of the market and the inability to find success with digital watches.
The rise of other semiconductor companies in foreign countries brought new competition to Intel by 1974, causing Intel’s control of the DRAM chip market to drop from 82.9% to 1.3% in 1984.
But Intel had a plan.
By 1984, Intel had begun the switch from memory chips to microprocessors. The company had already developed several microprocessors during its lifetime, improving on each one. In 1978, they developed the first 16-bit microprocessor, called the 8086. International Business Machines, or IBM, chose the new and improved Intel 16-bit microprocessor called the 8088 to be the CPU in its first mass-produced personal computer. This was a huge success for Intel.
Continuing to work diligently to improve on each developing product, Intel developed a 32-bit microprocessor that was called the 80386. Not only was this one of the best CPUs on the market at this time, but it introduced the technology that made microprocessors backwards-compatible with older CPUs.
Introduction of the Pentium Microprocessor
1993 brought Intel’s Pentium microprocessor to the forefront. It was much faster than previous microprocessors and boasted 3.1 million transistors, which is almost 3 times as many as the 80386. The computer market used the Pentium processors and the new Windows operating system to expand its market drastically because personal computers could now be used for more graphically intense applications like video games.
However, there was controversy introduced when the “Pentium Flaw” was discovered. This was the name given to the random segment in the 3.1 million transistors within the microprocessor that did not work correctly. It was found by Intel engineers when the processor was developed, but the company chose to keep it quiet and fix it in the following Pentium technology they produced. Once a mathematician in West Virginia discovered the flaw, the pressure was put on Intel to recall the product – costing the company $475 million.
Intel’s Secret Weapon
Intel’s technology combined with Microsoft software was a match made in computer heaven. This duo continued to crush the competition from both foreign and domestic markets in spite of controversies like the Pentium flaw. They ran their brand so flawlessly that both companies were sued for monopolistic actions in 2009.
By the mid-1990s, Intel technology was featured in most home computers. Brands like IBM and Hewlett-Packard designed Intel-based computers for their markets. The company then expanded into the motherboard business, placing all of the essential parts of a computer into one “motherboard” that included graphic and networking chips. Intel and its main competitor AMD, Advanced Micro Devices, became the main two computer technologies for all companies except for Apple, who has always used Motorola technology.
Staying on Top
Intel’s current main competitors are Samsung, AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, IBM, and Asus. Despite its growing list of competitors, Intel ensures its success by developing quality products that remain the best in their markets. In 2016, Intel made profits of over $59 billion and claimed assets of over $113 billion. The company employs 106,000 people worldwide in order to keep dominating its market.
Intel currently produces computer processors, motherboard chipsets, network interface controllers, integrated circuits, flash drives, graphics chips, embedded processors and more devices related to computers and communication. It has been ranked on the Forbes list of the largest United States companies by revenue, and Vault.com ranked the company #5 in best hardware and equipment companies.