The U.S.-based Intel Corporation was founded as the Integrated Electronics Corporation and is best known as developer and manufacturer of microprocessors, computer chips and other computer components and its “intel inside” logo used from 1990 to 2005.
Intel was founded in 1968 by San Francisco-born chemist and physicist, Gordon Earle Moore, in cooperation with Burlington-born physicist, Robert Noyce. Both had worked for Fairchild Semiconductor which introduced the first commercially available computer chip and for which Noyce is credited with being co-inventor.
Also involved in the founding of Intel was Andy (Andrew Stephen) Grove, a Hungarian-born American businessman and chemical engineer who ran the company through most of the 1980s and 90s and remained Executive Board Chairman until November 2004. Grove was very much a key figure in Intel’s success and still provides sound advice. At the end of the 1990s, Intel was one of the world’s most successful businesses within the semiconductor sector. From 1992 until today (2005 annual figures), Intel has ranked number one in world semiconductor sales, out distancing such big names as Samsung, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.
Intel initially produced random-access memory integrated circuits and was very successful during the 1970s. During this time, Intel’s engineers invented the first microprocessor - the Intel 4004 - which was launched on the market in November 1971. This was to become the turning point for Intel. As the personal computer gained rapid ground in the early 1980s, the memory-chip market became fiercely competitive, with particular pressure coming from the Japanese. Andy Grove decided that Intel should concentrate on microprocessor manufacture. As the personal computer industry took off in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, Intel reaped the benefits of Andy Grove's farsighted business acumen. In the 1990s in particilar, a great deal of research and development was carried out by Intel’s so-called Intel Architecture Labs, in both the hardware and software sectors for personal computers. Whilst Intel left its mark with hardware innovations, its software development lost out to Microsoft.
At the Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2005, Steve Jobs, co-founder and head of Apple Computers, announced that Apple was changing its policy and would make a transition from using PowerPC microprocessors to Intel processors for Macintosh computers. Power PC microprocessors were used after Apple had teamed up with IBM and Motorola (now Freescale) in the mid-1990s. The switch began in January 2006 with the release of the MacBook Pro notebook computer.
Intel’s long-term dominance of the microprocessor market has led to it being accused of unfair business practices and made it a target for legal proceedings. These included investigation by the United States Government Federal Trade Commission in the 1980s and 90s. However, very little ever came of these lawsuits and Intel’s dominance continues. Its biggest rival is California based Advanced Micro Devices, but even here, Intel has long had licensing agreements - although over the years AMD have sued Intel for anticompetitive practices on several occasions. Nevertheless, their cooperation led to exposure of an industrial espionage attempt and a guilty plea in 1996 by Argentinian Guillermo Gaede, who tried to steal data from Intel and sell it to AMD.
Intel’s market capitalization in the first quarter of 2006 stood at around $120 billion and its shares are traded on the American electronic stock exchange - National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (NASDAQ).
In 2006, Intel changed its “intel inside” logo to a new logo and slogan “intel Leap ahead” Time will tell whether or not Intel will actually stay ahead!