My buddy, Robert X. Cringely predicts that Intel will start to be irrelevant. I predicted that in 1999 when I walked out of the door in 1999. It started a few years earlier when Andy Grove stepped aside as CEO and appointed Craig Barrett CEO. I didn’t think that Barrett had a strategic bone in his body. But it was good news for me. I sold my Intel stock in the 70s a year later. As a Corp. Officer, I could have had difficulty dumping all my shares.
I was not happy to see Intel without a strategy for the future. The company had been really good to me. Once Paul Otellini took over as CEO (we had been friends), I offered my help in developing a strategy for the mobile space. I had a few meetings and then made my recommendations which were rejected. One of them was that the company acquire a few early stage companies not for their technology but their talent. Later, when the current CEO (who I never meet in the 15 years we were both at Intel….he worked in manufacturing), took over, I offered to help develop work with the CEO and the President on a strategy for the future. I spent a great deal of time thinking about what Intel could do and then offered it to them. They may or may not have read what I wrote, but they certainly did not act on it. I then decided my debt was repaid. Frankly, I don’t care anymore. I have worked with two great companies that lost their way, Digital Equipment and Intel. Maybe it is the destiny of all great companies once the founders move on.