Pat Gelsinger was just named as Intel’s new CEO earlier this week, and apparently is off to a bold start following a recent employee meeting where Gelsinger told employees that Intel needs to deliver better PC products than anything made by that “lifestyle company in Cupertino.” Ouch.
Following a rocky tenure mired by multiple delays to Intel’s chip development and several major dips in its stock price during 2020, many analysts had been calling for Intel to replace outgoing CEO Bob Swan.
As a former longtime Intel employee and one of the original architects of Intel’s 80486 processor, Gelsinger—who is leaving his previous position as CEO of VMware—is seen as a product-focused expert who many hope will be able to take Intel back to the days when its chips enjoyed significant performance advantages against competitors like AMD and ARM.
According to the Oregonian, who reported on the recent employee meeting, Gelsinger will need to steer Intel’s future processors as the company tries to decide whether or not to outsource chip production to third-party foundries owned by TSMC or possibly Samsung. With companies like AMD, Apple, and others having recently made the move to 7nm and 5nm nodes for their latest chips, Intel’s continued struggles to transition to its own 7nm process has resulted in numerous hits to Intel both in terms of performance and overall market share.
More importantly with Apple having become quite proficient with chip design and recently begun transitioning its entire PC lineup over to its in-house designed ARM-based chips, Intel stands to lose a significant chunk of sales, as Apple is estimated to represent as much as 5% of Intel’s yearly revenue. Furthermore, with Apple looking to gobble up more of the desktop and laptop market and AMD having surpassed Intel’s CPU on a performance-per-dollar ratio, Intel is going to need to make some strong moves to right the ship.
“We have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino,” Gelsinger said. “When executed well, [our research and manufacturing] has established Intel as a leader in every aspect.”
However, for a company that has faced significant setbacks to both its production and chip design, even for a well-respected veteran like Gelsinger, bringing Intel back to its former glory is going to be a massive challenge.
Gelsinger’s official tenure as Intel’s new CEO will begin on Feb. 15.