Businessweek has a great lead story on Craig Barrett's latest ideas.
Just 15 months before he hands the CEO job over to President Paul S. Otellini and becomes chairman, the 64-year-old Barrett is pushing just as hard to secure his legacy. After a rocky start to his tenure in which Intel invested billions in new businesses that largely failed, Barrett has been racing to transform the chipmaker. He has since shaken up Intel's insular, engineering-driven culture. He has ignored the scorn of critics and plowed $28 billion into cutting-edge plants and new technologies during the longest downturn in the chip industry's history. Today, Intel's manufacturing, always a cut above, is unrivaled throughout the semiconductor industry. "Everybody thought Barrett was crazy," says money manager Snehal Vashi of Henssler Equity Fund (HEQFX ), which counts Intel shares among its $1 billion in assets. "Rather than pulling back, he invested more, and that is bearing fruit."
Now Barrett is planning a last hurrah that may have some questioning his sanity all over again. At a time when some execs would be eyeing their pensions, Intel's chief is launching the most ambitious move beyond computers in the company's 35-year history. Forget Intel Inside. Think Intel Everywhere. Under Barrett's plan, Intel's powerful lineup of chips would be the guts of nearly every type of digital device on the planet. Cell phones. Flat-panel TVs. Portable video players. Wireless home networking. Even medical diagnostic gear. All told, the company is targeting 10 new product areas for its chips, primarily in the consumer-electronics and communications markets.
Given Intel's size, I don't think this is a bet-the-company kind of strategy. It is certainly ambitious though, and it is great to see a company thinking so much about the future.