Intel pre-empts Comdex/Fall with exec blitz
U-turns and right wheels galore on Friday 13th Part .18
Intel wheeled out its top guns on Friday the 13th last in a boost aimed at avoiding the need to go to Comdex/Fall to find out what it is thinking. Intel is not going to have booths at Comdex this year, just sideshows.
It rolled out Sean Maloney, Paul Otellini, Pat "Kicking" Gelsinger, Sunlin Chou and Andy Bryant, while heavyweights Craig Barrett and Andy Grove were also at the scene at the meeting in San Francisco.
And despite protestations to the contrary, Sean Maloney, at least, was willing to kick competitor 3Com in the goolies. He claimed that according to a market research group, Intel beat 3Com in Q3 to become the leading supplier of 100/100 Ethernet connections, with market share rising by 20 per cent in Q1/98 to 45 per cent now. Intel claims 3Com has 43 per cent market share. But Maloney also had to eat humble pie. He said that sales through US shops of PCs with Intel Inside are not as good as the company wanted.
Although he did not say so, AMD and Cyrix are nibbling away at this market. The Celeron will clock 400MHz by the middle of next year, he said and new chipsets will be introduced in 1999 and 2000. Although Maloney/Otellini did not say so, these are likely to be 370-pin numbers. The Great Satan of Chips believes in re-incarnation - this will be the third time the Celeron has died and been re-born.
Otellini-Maloney said that the Celeron rebirths are the greatest in Intel's history, with volume growing fourfold from Q2/98 to Q3/98. It will grow another two times from Q3/98 to Q4/98, one of the legion of Satans said. The first of its .18 micron chips will be for the mobile market and will ship in Q3/99. This is a u-turn.
Intel had said that Coppermine .18 micron and Cascade .18 micron products for mobiles, desktops, workstations and servers would start appearing in the second half of next year. The reason for the change, claimed Otellini-Barrett, is that the market segment needed higher performance, lower power consumption and reduced heat dissipation.
Pat "Kicking" Gelsinger demonstrated three pyramidcal Yaquina designs which will be somewhere on the Comdex/Fall floor this coming week. Intel will also show another design called Twister aimed at the business sector. Proud of his place in the Guinness Book of Records, Kicking demonstrated a system running 70 USB devices.
Sunlin Chou said that Intel's .18 micron ramp will be the steepest and largest in wafer starts per week, with the Satan committing to high capacity output of parts. He also said Intel would use copper in its .13 micron generation, as revealed here earlier, and would have IA32/64 parts scaling beyond 1GHz, as also revealed here.
And finally, Satan rolled out chief financial officer Andy Bryant, who claimed that the company had achieved big chip cost reductions through pruning staff, stock, materials it buys and keeping capital costs down. He warned that Intel's processor cost was lowest in the budget sector and highest in the server sector, meaning that it needed to be even more competitive in the budget sector.
He said that Intel would save money through re-using equipment and sites in its move from .25 micron to .18 micron technology and has already saved $1 billion. ®