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Intel CEO Bob Swan not interested in holding 90% CPU market share

Intel's CEO has stated that he is working to downplay the vision of 90% CPU dominance, as he steers the ship toward a more profitable silicon focus

By: Shannon Robb from Dec 8, 2019 @ 15:58 CST

Intel has caught a lot of flack for their lack of answers to AMD's Ryzen series, especially with the launch of Ryzen 3000.

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Bob Swan, the CEO of Intel, has painted a quite vivid picture in a presentation from the annual Credit Suisse technology conference, which to put it frankly, he is pivoting the direction of Intel away from chasing CPU dominance. Here is the direct quote from the conference courtesy of WCCFTech.

"We think about having 30% share in a $230 [silicon] TAM that we think is going to grow to $300B [silicon] TAM over the next 4 years, and frankly, I'm trying to destroy the thinking about having 90% share inside our company because, I think it limits our thinking, I think we miss technology transitions. we miss opportunities because we're, in some ways preoccupied with protecting 90, instead of seeing a much bigger market with much more innovation going on, both inside our four walls, and outside our four walls, so we come to work in the morning with a 30% share, with every expectation over the next several years, that we will play a larger and larger role in our customers success, and that doesn't just mean CPUs.

It means GPUs, it means Al, it does mean FPGAs, it means bringing these -technologies together so we're solving customers' problems. So, were looking at a company with roughly 30% share in a $288 silicon TAM, not CPU TAM but silicon TAM. We look at the investments we've been making over the last several years in these kinds of key technology inflections: 5G At autonomous, acquisitions, including Altera, that we think is more and more relevant both in the cloud but also ai the network and at the edge, and we see a much bigger opportunity, and our expectations are that we're going to gain our fair share at that much larger TAM by Investing in these key technology inflections."

For many who do not know how foundries and silicon itself works, several different types of IC's are designed, created, and spun up by factories such as the ones Intel owns and uses to make its CPUs. By focusing strictly on the CPU side, Intel has missed some significant opportunities to tie in with new partners, which could further their silicon development far beyond what current desktop or server CPU R&D would ever accomplish. Intel has admittedly enjoyed a rather diverse level of silicon application flexibility, but their main focus has always been microprocessors.

With new technologies such as 5G modems and beyond, along with various ASIC and other silicon ventures Intel can potentially dive into, this could open Intel to a level of growth that the company has never seen before. While this may sound scary to us enthusiasts who rely on Intel for their cadence of deploying the newest super-fast CPU for our gaming and productivity needs, this change in strategy may be just what Intel needs in light of their recent struggles and losing ground to AMD with the Ryzen 3000.

We do not expect Intel to drop out of the consumer or server/datacenter CPU space, but this may be the sabbatical they need to reignite their fires. This could also help Intel achieve extra capital, shareholder value, and new application logic knowledge through diversification of their silicon offerings, while also learning new things that may help them in the long run on their future IC/CPU development.

Intel is not dead; they are just taking a nap for a while. Consumer CPUs will still come, only not with the same market leadership we have seen previously.

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