Intel Corp. is launching its 64-bit Itanium processors in the midst of a deep industry downturn and, as part of its effort, is seeking to rally support around its vision of 64-bit computing. At the same time, the leading manufacturer of microprocessors is moving forward with new mobile chips and is looking ahead to computing designs beyond todays CMOS devices.
Company CEO Craig Barrett discussed these and other issues, such as three-dimensional organic biological molecular compute elements, with eWEEK Executive Editor Stan Gibson following his remarks at Gartner Inc.s 2002 Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Fla., earlier this week.
eWEEK: Intel has placed a huge bet on Itanium. Can Intel succeed if Itanium does not hit a home run? Have you hedged your bet on other technologies?
Barrett: We are succeeding without Itanium revenue today. Were investing heavily in it, and its not contributing positively to the bottom line. Were succeeding today, so I assume we could succeed in the future. But it is a part of our overall road map. We make building blocks for clients, for servers and for networks. Itanium is the building block for servers.
eWEEK: Looking back at the rollout of Itanium and Itanium 2, is there anything you would do differently?
Barrett: We were a bit slow in getting the Itanium 1 product out. I think we did the right things, working in parallel with the OS and ISV communities in getting the product into the marketplace. We can always improve on our execution--we can do that on every product--but were very happy with the characteristics of Itanium and with the Itanium strategy.
eWEEK: Are the Itanium follow-ons, including Madison, Deerfield and Montecito, all on schedule, with Montecito arriving in 2005?
Barrett: Yes, theyre rolling out basically in a one-a-year timeframe.
eWEEK: Are you satisfied with Dell [Computer Corp.]s posture on Itanium so far?
Barrett: They were basically slow to come to the party. The comment they made about two weeks ago--which was that their customers are getting pulled to the Itanium 2 family--shows theyre moving in the right direction.
eWEEK: Is something called Yamhill [a 64-bit architecture chip thats compatible with x86] more than a rumor?
Barrett: I dont ever comment on rumors. Theres been a lot of speculation in the press about what Intel is doing. We have a 64-bit strategy, and it happens to be the Itanium processor family.
eWEEK: With regard to the LaGrande security initiative, in some quarters there has been noise of surrendering control. Is there any reason to that reaction?
Barrett: Anytime you do anything with security and privacy, theres a degree of concern. We tried to do something with processor serial numbers a few years ago. From a security standpoint it made a lot of sense. But if you can identify users on the basis of a serial number, then they may get upset.
Security is increasingly important. There is no questions that people will use PCs more and more for commerce, so you want to make them secure. What you want to do at the hardware level is facilitate what you want to do in software. In multimedia, we put multimedia extensions in the instruction set. Security is not that much different.