Intel is going through a time of turmoil as company officials look to create a future for the giant chip company that has less to do with traditional PCs and mobile devices and more with the Internet of things, the cloud and 5G connectivity.
The upheaval has been felt in the company's workforce (including 12,000 job cuts), its executive team and its product roadmap, including the recent decision to drop some low-power systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) aimed at smartphones to instead focus more money and effort on the other growth areas. All of this is part of a larger plan laid out by CEO Brian Krzanich, who wrote in a post on the company blog last month calling the focus on the Internet of things (IoT), cloud and 5G as part of Intel's "virtuous cycle of growth."
A significant step in the company's repositioning came in November 2015 when Krzanich named longtime Qualcomm executive Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala president of the newly formed Client and Internet of Things Businesses and Systems Architecture Group. It was an unusual move. Intel traditionally has hired top executives from within the company, but Krzanich instead went outside and tapped an official from a key competitor.
The hiring led to the exodus of several longtime Intel veterans and brought in someone who could take an objective view of the business. In an internal memo to employees in April, Renduchintala said the company needed to do a better job in such areas as competitiveness and focusing on the customer.
The changes in the company have raised questions about Intel's game plan and future, which Krzanich looked to address in his blog post. This week, Renduchintala wrote in his own blog post about his view of Intel's transformation and the reasons he chose to make the move from Qualcomm. A key is that Intel's past positions it well for addressing the emerging business opportunities, he said.
With decades of experience in creating open ecosystems, powering the world's PCs and servers, and embedding intelligence into unexpected devices, Intel is uniquely positioned to deliver the comprehensive portfolio of end-to-end hardware and software technologies for this revolution," Renduchintala wrote. "All of this is why I'm bullish on Intel, and why I joined this company. … I know that we'll win in the connectivity revolution fueled by the IoT. I'm resolute in my belief that Intel is the only company on the planet that can do all of this from one end of the network to the other, delivering unique value to our customers."
Intel officials are predicting that there will be more than 50 billion connected devices that will make up the IoT by 2020, and all of those devices will need connectivity—particularly through 5G networks—and generate massive amounts of data. That is the direction Intel is headed in, he wrote.
"All of this will put unprecedented demands on today's networks, and require a new generation of technology that can serve a far broader set of devices, volumes of data and human need for connectedness," Renduchintala wrote. "5G is the inflection point from network needs driven largely by PCs and smartphones to an entirely new platform that connects a broad range of 'things' to each other, to people and to the cloud."