Updates to this story
Where are they now? Another stalwart in the shape of the charming Anand Chandrasekher has left the Good Chip Intel. Intel is famous for many things including the memorable phrase: "The sun never sets on the Intel empire."
The list gets longer and longer – Kicking Pat Gelsinger, Mike Splinter, Mike Fister and many more are gone, gone, gone. Sean Maloney is recovering from an illness, people are asking questions about a successor to CEO Paul Otellini. But Mr Otellini doesn’t have to cross the Rubicon for another five years – he’s 60 now.
Let’s see if we can ponder what the significance of Chandrasekher’s departure is. In his latter days he was a senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group. This, actually, is a hot potato of a job. For some years now, the chip giant has been talking about how we’ll see smaller form factors everywhere – we are seeing a plethora of different designs.
Unfortunately, from Intel’s point of view, many of these different designs use ARM-based microprocessors, rather than Intel chips. Design wins for phones are few – several vendors in the handset business have told me that the last thing they want is for Intel to have any dominating business in that sphere. Intel has, of course, a few ARM licences but doesn’t seem to want to use them. Long in the tooth Intel hands probably shake their heads from time to time remembering the rather low consumption Xscale technology that they “inherited” from DEC.
David Perlmutter, who is general manager of the Intel Architecture Group was at great pains to maintain that it’s still in the smartphone and handheld market, and investing in the sector, and that it will ship a phone this year.
We really have no idea how many millions of dollars Intel has poured into its pursuit of this lucrative market – it’s still an incredibly profitable company and has all but put competitors using different processors – aside from Big Blue – very much in the shade.
Chandrasekher was at Intel for 24 years – the perception of people moving rapidly from job to job doesn’t apply in general to the semiconductor business. People stay in the same company for years. So there’s a reason for the Chandrasekher shift – he’s probably being lined up for some super CEO job. I met a cousin of Anand Chandrasekher at a bar in Old Taipei a few years ago. He worked for AMD. He is a thoroughly competent and bright guy. He's too young to retire.
Hang on a minute. Isn’t the story at AMD that Dirk “DEC Alpha” Meyer left his job at CEO so precipitately because the company didn’t have the right kind of microprocessors for small form factor stuff? No.... no... no...
Chandrasekher in Blameville (TG Daily)