Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Inside Intel

We usually get awkward glances when we say we work at intel. There has been a few instances where a few of our co-workers were asked to check out broken laptops and another funny anecdote where one was asked for help in a Unity Plaza shop mistaking him for a computer sales guy because of his company t-shirt. This explains why some of us are reluctant to wear the light blue company t-shirts in public places.

We work at Intel and we have email addresses that goes as; we have access to all Intel employees via Lync; our leaves and expenses are handled via Intel internal systems and we have access to Intel intranet. No, we do not repair computers or we cannot sell a chip to you! Honestly speaking, we know nothing more about the Intel chips than the fact that they are inside our computers. Yes, we do have an office in Sri Lanka and it’s in the HSBC building in Bamba. No, we are not sales people or hardware experts; we’re software engineers and we write software, in fact we’re continuing the same kind of work we did during the good old Aepona days.

Intel acquired Ireland based company, Aepona, 2 years back. We also wondered why would the chip giant has anything to do with an API business. Little did we know that Intel was one of the biggest software companies in the world. This article on Forbes shed some light into the matter. In fact, the security giant, McAfee, was acquired by Intel as well.

A peek inside 2014 annual report of Intel gives us a better picture of what Intel’s business consists of. Software and Service Group, known within Intel as SSG, is the segment to us, previous Aepona employees, are attached.

The above are the operating segments of Intel as of 2014. But don’t be deceived by the equal sized squares, the revenue earned by the segments give a better idea of the size and the financial significance of the respective segments.

PC client group is leading the way with a high percentage, but we can see that the percentage revenue from it is slowly but steadily declining and the other segments are slowly gaining.

Intel was founded in 1968 by semiconductor pioneers Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore. If you have heard of the famous Moore’s Law, it was Gordon Moore who came up with that. Intel is a derived shorter version of the term "Integrated Electronics". Within a year Intel released the world's first metal oxide semi-conductor (MOS) static ram, the 1101. Before long, in 1971, Intel created the world's first commercial microprocessor chip. With the success of the Personal Computer (PC) microprocessor became the primary business of Intel and is still going strong today. "Moore's law" which says that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit will double in every 2 years, is based on an observation made by Gordon Moore. It has become a target for Intel and the reason for the law to be valid up to today is because Intel has driven innovation fiercely to achieve this target. In fact, Intel’s mission statement goes as “Utilize the power of Moore’s Law to bring smart, connected devices to every person on Earth” This year,2015, marks the 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law.

Infamous “Intel Inside” marketing campaign was launched in 1991 and Intel became a familiar name in every nook and corner of the world. As of today Intel stands as the 12th Most Valuable Brands in the World and #12 on Forbes World’s Most Reputable Companies. Currently Intel has 107,000 employees across 170 Sites in 70 Countries and is included in the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune Magazine. RenĂ©e James, President of Intel was named #21 on Fortune’s List of Most Powerful Women in Business and #37 on Forbes 100 List of Most Powerful Women in Tech.

With the dawn of the 21st century, Intel faced threats to its dominance by its rising competition, notably AMD. Fall of the PC and the rise of the mobile is another reason behind the slow down. These reasons are behind Intel’s move to diversify and explore different markets and we see software and IoT highlighted in the roadmap of Intel.

There was a series of acquisitions which helped expand SSG and they include Virtutech, McAfee, Mashery, Aepona and many more.

Hopefully Intel’s software business will grow in leaps and bounds and our neighbors will not give us confused looks when we say we work for Intel :)