A Tale Of Two Technology Leaders – Intel & Qualcomm

2021 has been a year of change for many. As COVID-19 lasted its second year, society was faced with new realities. For the technology industry, this included the reality that learning, work and entertainment were virtually a part of later life. The technical industry has also been tuned for change due to several major acquisitions and changes in management in the industry. The two most significant changes have occurred with the change of guard at Intel and Qualcomm. Ironically, the two companies have been fierce competitors for the past decade, but now they are more free than ever.

Intel is sharpening its focus

In February 2021, Pat Gelsinger took over as CEO of Intel, and many of us argued that he should have had many years ago after being the company’s first CTO. However, it seems that his experience as CEO of VMWare has expanded not only his experience but also his outlook on the industry. Mr. Helsinger came out of the gate in charge. He intended to bring Intel back to the forefront of processing and manufacturing. But his aspirations did not stop there. Mr. Gelsinger is also committed to making Intel a leader in graphics, networking and other technologies. Although Intel is only now emerging with a new and more competitive set of technologies and products, they were in full swing before Mr. Gelsinger took the helm. Mr. Gelsinger, however, has influenced the implementation and dissemination of new products and technologies through changes in both staff and company culture.

You can see the energy and excitement that Mr. Gelsinger has brought to Intel. Under Mr. Helsinger’s leadership, we saw many industry experts and former Intel employees join the company as part of a new management team. Similarly, Mr. Helsinger immediately began honing Intel’s corporate strategy. The first notable change was the company’s production strategy, called IDM 2.0. According to IDM 2.0, Intel seeks to have a more balanced manufacturing strategy that utilizes both internal and foundry resources, Intel seeks to regain its leadership in manufacturing technology, and Intel seeks to become one of the leading semiconductor foundries using Intel’s advanced technology process and packaging, an extensive IP portfolio and new factories. The company has already announced the refurbishment of a mega-production site in Ohio with two new and two new production facilities at its Ocatila site in Arizona, as well as the modernization and expansion of existing plants around the world.

In addition, Intel prioritizes certain products and technologies such as graphics, AI and networking, maximizing shareholder capital and value, including the sale of SK Hynix NAND and SSDs and the intention to bring Mobileye to the public.

Mr. Helsinger also insisted on restoring the focus on collaboration with customers and the developer community. In terms of collaboration with customers, Intel is open to developing non-standard products, using processor architectures other than x86, and even allows customers to use certain aspects of their accumulated manufacturing skills, including semiconductor manufacturing and backend assembly (packaging) and testing. Previously, Intel never allowed foundry customers to use its technology or packaging facilities unless Intel also produced a silicon die. Intel also supports a broader semiconductor ecosystem, such as the recent Intel Foundry Service IFS investment in the RIC-V architecture and continued support for the Arm architecture. As for developers, Mr. Gelsinger quickly organized new developer conferences called Intel Innovation, which are similar to the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), which he initiated as Intel’s CTO a few decades ago.

Summing up the current view of Intel, it is best to describe Intel as a company committed to offering the most productive computing solutions that will deliver everything from PCs to the cloud, and at the same time be a leader in semiconductor technology. And if you want another example of Mr. Gelsinger’s energy, just watch the video in which he does jumps and push-ups before speaking at the Intel Innovation conference. And based on who visited the gym with him at 5 am, I can assure you that this is Mr. Helsingor. He brings passion and commitment to everything he does.

Qualcomm is developing TAM in new markets

Another major change in the CEO of semiconductor companies was Christian Amon, who became CEO of Qualcomm. As Qualcomm’s president since 2018, Mr. Amon was the driving force behind the company even before he became CEO. Mr. Amon is very charismatic and he is very fond of technology and this is one of the reasons why he has been a well-known representative of the company for the last few years. It was clear that the energetic and driven personality of Mr. Amon would also become part of Qualcomm’s culture. As president, Mr. Amon has already laid the groundwork for the company’s new strategy by purchasing in early 2021 a Nuvia startup processor to develop individual Arm-compatible cores for future Qualcomm products. The founders of Nuvia were experts who began work on the development of Apple’s custom processor and SoC, and this experience can help Qualcomm enter new markets far beyond mobile.

As President and CEO, Mr. Amon was also a supporter of Qualcomm’s expansion in automotive and IoT applications, using low-energy, high-performance heterogeneous processing as well as the radio frequency experience she gained as a leader in mobile and wireless. Qualcomm is already a leader in technology platforms (hardware and software) for augmented reality and virtual reality (AV / VR), as well as for wearable technologies such as smart watches and fitness trackers. Qualcomm also uses its expertise to provide artificial intelligence accelerators for data centers and computing platforms for other embedded / IoT applications, such as peripherals, drones, robotics, urban infrastructure, medical systems, and industrial applications.

In addition, the company builds on its leadership in automotive cellular modems by offering a complete automotive platform called Digital Chassis, which includes a digital cab, infotainment systems and ADAS / AV systems. The company quickly became one of the leading contenders in the supply of technology to the automotive market of future automotive platforms. According to Qualcomm, the company works with every major OEM. In ADAS / AV systems, Qualcomm has announced partnerships with leading OEMs including BMW, GM and most recently Ferrari. Expansion in automotive applications is not only an attractive market for growth for Qualcomm, but it is also an area of ​​great interest to Mr. Amon, a car enthusiast.

Summing up Qualcomm’s view, the company is still striving to be a leader in mobile and wireless technology, but when things get connected and smart, or what Tirias Research likes to call Intelligence of Things, Qualcomm seems to be in the right place. at the right time with critical technologies that create wireless networks, infrastructure and billions of connected devices.

Additional future

Intel and Qualcomm are using their expertise and resources to expand new areas. In addition, both companies have expressed interest in working together – Qualcomm plans to use Intel as a partner in the production of semiconductors. But the possibilities go much, much further. If you look at the three major market trends that were evident at CES in January, Intel and Qualcomm have good positions both individually and together to address them. These trends include autonomous machines (including cars, drones, robots, etc.), games, and the virtual environment (aka the metaworld). All three will require artificial intelligence, all will need local processing on mobile devices, all will use high-speed 5G wireless networks, and all will require high-performance cloud processing. Qualcomm is a leader in energy-efficient processing, mobile and wireless technology, and Intel is a leader in networking and high-performance processing. There are other companies that fit well into these categories, which I will cover in future articles, but it is a bit ironic that these two industry leaders are changing in a complementary way.

Not all company executives manage change effectively, and not all leadership change is effective. In these two cases, Intel and Qualcomm, changes in leadership have been beneficial to companies and beneficial to the industry in terms of stimulating innovation, collaboration and competition.

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