Not too many people get excited by microprocessors, and that’s a problem for Intel.
“The customer in general isn’t just interested in buying technology,” says Justin Rattner, Corporate VP and head of Intel Labs, sounding a bit more like Steve Jobs than Andy Grove. They want a solution to their problems. And they want to “fall in love” with the technology that brings it to them.
So, Rattner says, Intel plans to leave its customers smitten through a “radical change” in focus from technology to design. An early product planned under the new approach (you can see what it may look like in the video above) will let people virtually try on clothes without leaving their living rooms using a Kinect-like interface.
Intel’s no stranger to extreme moves. It started as a memory chipmaker in 1968, but with the advent of the personal computer it moved into microprocessors, which became the foundation for a growing information economy. In the 1980s, a movement within the company to dominate the field emerged. Its founders, initially reluctant to abandon their original strategy, were eventually “dragged along kicking and screaming,” Rattner says.
The shift paid off. In the decade after 1986, Intel’s stock price more than tripled. And soon, if all goes according to plan, the recent effort to refocus will deliver equally game-changing results. In a few years, as the first products developed under the new paradigm are released, “we’ll see a very different reaction and a very different perception of what Intel’s delivering in terms of technology,” Rattner says.
Thanks to Vivek Thomas for Intel animations.