Paranoia is what's inside Intel

The computer chip-maker has, like Microsoft, achieved legendary status, writes Roger Trapp

Few industries grip the public imagination like the computer business, particularly that significant chunk of it based in California's Silicon Valley. Among the most intriguing of the companies that make up this increasingly powerful sector is Intel.

Though it has recently launched consumer advertising on television, the organisation is chiefly known through the "Intel Inside" slogan generally seen as a badge of quality for personal computers. The fact that this slogan is there due to Intel's policy of paying PC makers a portion of their marketing costs if they carry it is just one of the dark and mysterious ways in which the company has become one of the industry's biggest players since being founded in 1968.

Just as Microsoft has convinced the public that, in computing, the software is generally more important than the hardware, so Intel has put across the notion that the truly significant part of the hardware is the microprocessor, or chip.

Microsoft and Intel have another thing in common: both have become so prominent in their fields that they have fought lengthy battles with the few companies prepared to take them, on and with the anti-trust authorities. Before it emerged that Microsoft faced a $1m-a-day fine from the US Justice Department over its attempt to make its Internet platform an industry standard, Intel ended its war with Digital Equipment over alleged patent infringements by agreeing to buy a sizeable part of the Massachusetts company.

Microsoft has long been the subject of books and lengthy magazine articles, but little has been known about Intel - at least until recently. But things have begun to change. As former Independent journalist Tim Jackson writes in his recently-published book Inside Intel (HarperCollins, pounds 19.99), the watershed came exactly a year ago when Andy Grove, Intel's chief executive, gave a presentation at Comdex, the computer industry's annual trade festival in Las Vegas. The appearance - "more of an all-singing, all-dancing multimedia presentation than a mere speech" - meant that the brilliant Hungarian- born engineer had arrived, says Mr Jackson. "Now he was a celebrity - celebrated on the covers of business magazines, adored by the Intel shareholders to whom he had delivered 40 per cent annual returns over his decade at the company's helm, and rich beyond most people's dreams."

The level of that fame became apparent earlier this year, when London Business School invited him to deliver a lecture. Such was the level of interest in the man who had appeared at the World Economic Forum at Davos to warn of the dangers of Europe lagging behind in technology that the school laid on extra seats.

His talk was essentially an edited version of his book, Only the Paranoid Survive, which HarperCollins published a short while before. But the audience was rapt as he talked about "strategic inflection points" - scientist's language for the rapid changes that seem to increasingly confront businesses. Since such lurches in direction can occur suddenly, the paranoia of his book's title seems well-placed. "When it comes to business, I believe in the value of paranoia. Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. The more successful you are, the more people want a chunk of your business, and then another, and then another until there is nothing left."

This fear and determination to control events is very much apparent in Mr Jackson's book. Though Mr Grove and other founders gave little assistance, it is a not altogether negative portrait of a company battling to secure its position in an increasingly competitive industry.

Mr Grove, who is gradually bowing out of the day-to-day running of the company, would be the first to admit that the Internet, in particular, poses a number of challenges for Intel's future. But, as Mr Jackson concludes, "only brave souls will be ready to bet against Intel."

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game