Intel is an American company specializing in creating semiconductor-based circuits. These circuits are used for a multitude of purposes, including microprocessors, memory units, etc. Its headquarters in Santa Clara, California. Intel is most popularly known for its consumer processors, mainly the Pentium and Core series. They are also the inventors of the x86 architecture of processors, which is the most widely used processors in the world.
This company was founded in 1978 and has had a very successful past. Starting with a chip powering a calculator, Intel has grown to make processors powering the most powerful supercomputers in the world. They lead the semiconductor-based chips market by a huge margin. Let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts about this industry giant that powers almost every computer in the world.
Intel has been perfecting the art of making lighting fast processors for over a century. Let’s make like the 10th Gen i9 processor and quickly run through some facts.
- Intel as originally named ‘Moore Noyse’ after its founders, but since that sounded like ‘More noise,’ they changed it.
- The name Intel is a combination of the initial parts of the word ‘INTegrated ELectronics.’
- Intel made $2672 in revenue in its first year.
- Intel was responsible for creating the first silicon-based microprocessor, literally putting the silicon in Silicon Valley.
- Gordon Moore, Intel’s Co-Founder, coined the famous Moore’s Law.
Lesser Known Facts About Intel
Intel is a massive company with a variety of products and services. These products have rightfully allowed it to hold the major stake in the processor market ever since the company’s creation. Let’s take a look at the colorful history and the fascinating status of Intel in today’s world.
1. Intel has its own 10,000 square-foot museum: Since Intel has been around for half a century, it has a lot of history it wants to honor. To achieve this, they have created their own museum. This museum sprawls over 10,000 square feet and contains some of the rarest artifacts from Intel’s history. These artifacts include the first calculator made with an Intel chip, the original blueprint for the 4004 processor that was created by Robert Noyce, and even the first patent ever filed by Intel. This museum is very famous, attracting around 80,000 patrons every year.
2. Intel managed to control 2,066 drones for a synchronized light show, setting a world record: Intel’s 50th anniversary was a huge milestone for the company, and indeed for the whole computing world. So, for the celebration, Intel decided to do something really impressive. They created a custom processor for drones and put them in a set of 2066 drones. These drones were used in the anniversary celebration and set a world record for the greatest number of synchronized drones flown together. These drones were used for creating a lot of amazing visuals in the sky like the Earth, and Intel’s old logo.
(Source: Guinness World Record)
3. There are 107,400 employees at Intel: Intel is a massive company, employing 107,400 people to work in its various departments. Most of these employees are in the USA, where they are headquartered. There are nearly 51,000 employees in the USA, mainly based in the giant Santa Clara campus. The second most employees are in the Asia Pacific region, mainly in China and India.
4. The sound logo for Intel was the most recognized international sound logo in the world: Logos are essential for a brand’s image. They help people identify the brand instantly and help build consumer loyalty. These brands are usually just visually appealing images that consist of the brands’ names. Some brands also choose to create auditory logos, like Intel did when they launched their Intel Inside campaign. This sound logo has become so ubiquitous with the brand and computers booting that it has become the most well-recognized audio logo in the world. Some estimates even say that it has been played more than a billion times.
(Source: Business Insider)
5. Intel doesn’t let any particles bigger than 0.5 microns in their cleanrooms: Intel manufactures all its products in labs called ‘Cleanrooms.’ These cleanrooms are designed to have absolutely no particles in them that can interfere with the manufacturing process. The air in this room s is completely changed four times every minute. During this change, the air passes through various filters, which ensure that no particles bigger than 0.5 micron as present in the air. For reference, a human hair is around 100 microns in thickness. These rooms are around 1,000 times cleaner than an average hospital room.
6. Intel indirectly created Apple: Intel’s co-founder Robert Noyce believed in mentoring young inventors. He had a program where he took in promising innovators and gave them the tools and knowledge they needed to realize their vision. One such individual he mentored was Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder. When Jobs and Wozniak were struggling to create their first products, they were mentored by Noyce, who gave them access to Intel’s labs. He also formed a close personal bond with Steve Jobs.
(Source: Computer Science Monitor)
7. Intel was the thirteenth most powerful brand in the world in 2019: Intel has always been at the forefront of technological innovation. Their branding can be found on the majority of computers around the world. So, it should come as no surprise that since 1984, they have been consistently ranked among the most powerful brands in the world. In 2019, Forbes ranked them thirteenth on the list, ironically behind companies that use a huge number of Intel products.
8. Intel has managed to squeeze in over 8 billion transistors in a microprocessor: Transistors are what form the basis of any electrical circuit. They can conditionally allow or stop electrons from flowing through them, like a switch, which is what produces a 1 or 0 binary response. These transistors started out as a 10 cm long vacuum tube, but Intel has managed to shrink them down to an astounding 7 – 1 nm in length. This has allowed them to put up to 8 billion transistors on one chip, with a density of 1.71 billion/cm2. That means around 200 million of these transistors can fit on the head of a pin.
9. The transistors being developed are so small that an electron can barely fit inside!: Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a chip will double every two years. This trend has more or less been followed consistently since the law was stated in 1975. However, the engineers of today are faced with a unique problem. Electrons are very small indeed, and they behave as both a wave and a particle. Without going too much in detail, this dual nature allows them to either stop at a barrier, or if the barrier is smaller in length than their wavelength, bypass it. This bypassing due to wavelength is termed as quantum tunneling (This is a very barebones explanation). These wavelengths are of the order of 1-2 nanometers. This wouldn’t be an issue, but the smallest transistor available today is only 5nm in length! This means that soon, the transistor size wouldn’t be able to be reduced any further since they simply wouldn’t be able to stop electrons from flowing!
10. Intel has shipped over 26 septillion transistors until December 2019: 26 septillion means 26 followed by 21 zeros. That is a massive number of transistors! For reference, the human body only has about 37 trillion cells. So, the number of transistors shipped is equal to the cells in the bodies of a billion times the humans on the Earth. This is more than a trillion times the number of stars in the galaxy.
11. Intel controls nearly 77% of the consumer PC market, far ahead of its major competitor AMD: AMD and Intel may have been founded around the same time, but Intel’s focus on providing cheap and powerful processors has helped it always be the largest shareholder in the consumer computer market. At its peak, Intel held nearly 89% of the market share. However, due to some recent delays in its manufacturing processes, AMD has been grabbing an increasing chunk of the market, ending the 2018 fiscal year with a strong 20.32% of the total market share.
12. Intel doesn’t want to hold a majority share in consumer computer processors: Intel, or ‘Chipzilla,’ as it’s affectionately called, has always maintained its image as holding the lion’s share of the processor market. This, according to CEO Bob Swan, is an image Intel wants to distance itself from moving on. Bob claims that this image has given rise to a culture of stagnation in the company, which in turn has hurt this very image. Intel aims to hold 35% of the total silicon-based semiconductor market, instead of holding 77% of the processor market as it does currently. Whether this will be a good move or not remains to be seen.
13. Intel’s first few products were memory chips and not a processor!: in 1968, Intel released its first product, a ‘Dynamic Random Access Memory’ (DRAM) chip, which allowed computers to read and write into memory up to 100 times faster than the then-current speed. This changed the face of the computing market forever as most major manufacturers started to base their PCs around the DRAM chip. This fueled Intel’s meteoric rise to fame and subsequent release of the first-ever 4 – bit microprocessor, the 4004.
14. Intel was the mother of the concept of motherboards: Around the mid-1990s, Intel was supplying big-name manufacturers like HP and IBM with the processors. These manufacturers could then design their own hardware around these CPUs. However, Intel also wanted smaller manufactures to be able to use their products. So, to facilitate this, Intel designed the concept of a ‘Motherboard.’ This board would contain all the necessary hardware to make a computer function, including peripheral interfaces, memory, heat dissipation modules, etc. This concept was rapidly adopted by the industry and allowed Intel to get an even larger share of the consumer computer market.
15. Apple is the only major company that didn’t use Intel’s CPU for their computers since the 1980s, before giving up: When the Lisa and Macintosh were launched in the 1980s, they surprised the consumer market by opting to go for the Motorola M6000 processors instead of their Intel variant. This made them the only major consumer company to do so, and they received a lot of criticism for the same as at the time almost every software was written with the Intel architecture in mind. This criticism and Motorola’s inability to match Intel’s technological advancements spurred Apple to switch to Intel in 2005. This arrangement is due to change again, with some reports suggesting that the 2020 models of the Mac and MacBook will be based on Apple’s proprietary hardware.
16. Intel’s transistors can switch on and off 1.5 trillion times in one second: As discussed earlier, transistors are just switches that can conditionally let electricity pass through them. Modern transistors can achieve this switching action nearly 1.5 trillion times, for years at a time. For comparison, if a human were to try switching a switch on and off 1.5 trillion times, it would take them over 25,000 years.
(Source: Intel )
It’s All About the Money
Now that we’ve looked at Intel’s various achievements and amazing facts, lets talk a bit about the more practical side of business. Here we explore some of the statistics about Intel’s giant bank account:
17. Intel earned $70.8 billion in revenue in 2018: Poised as the industry leader in the manufacture of processors is a highly profitable position. So much so that Intel earned roughly $70.8 billion in 2018, with a projected revenue of $73.2 billion for 2019.
18. Until 2019, Intel Capital has invested $12.4 billion in various start-ups across the world: Intel Capital is Intel’s investment fund that it uses to invest in emerging companies and technologies. Since its creation in 1991, it has funded over 200 companies, spending nearly $12.4 billion. These investments are spread across the world, with companies in 57 countries benefitting from Intel’s help.
(Source: Intel Capital)
19. The market cap of Intel is $247.1 billion as of 7th December 2019: The market cap of a company is calculated by taking the total number of shares it has floated on the market and multiplying it with the companies’ current stock price. For Intel, a publicly-traded company since 1970, this figure rests at an amazing figure of $247.1 billion. While this trails behind industry giants such as Amazon and Apple, it is still among the top 0.5% companies in the world.
20. Intel had to pay $15,000 to buy the name: When Intel was decided as the name for the company, instead of Moore Noyce and NM Technologies, they faced a major issue. The name Intelco was already licensed by a hotel chain in the Mid-West. Not wanting to enter a legal battle over the name, Intel decided to pay $15,000 to the chain for the exclusive use of the name. Who knows they might go after the CIA next to stop them from saying ‘intel’!
(Source: The Inquirer)
21. Intel’s R&D budget for 2019 is projected to be $14.05 billion: Given Intel’s position as one of the most innovative companies on the planet, it is no surprise that the company has a very robust R&D team. This team is very well staffed and funded, with $139.54 billion being spent on R7D in 2018. This figure is expected to break the $140 billion mark in 2019, firmly establishing Intel as the leader of the pack when it comes to processor manufacture. For comparison, AMD, one of Intel’s biggest rivals, only spent around $3 billion on R&D in 2018.
22. 52% of Intel’s profit is made by selling processors to consumer computers: While Intel has been making massive inroads in the server and mainframe markets, it still primarily identifies as a consumer electronics company. It’s ‘i’ series of processors are being used in most major laptops and desktops today, with the largest consumer being Dell followed by Lenovo. This consumer market accounted for almost 52% of Intel’s profits for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. This consumer market has been dubbed the ‘Computing Client Group’ by Intel.
23. 42% of Intel’s profit came from China and Taiwan: Intel’s products are very prolific across the world. However, a majority of their profits come from the Asia – Pacific regions, owing to the large scale manufacturing companies based in the area. 42% of Intel’s revenue comes from China and Taiwan, with 20.1% coming from other Asia – Pacific countries.
24. Intel’s stock grew only 6% since January 2019 (to December 2019), while AMD’s grew 83%: While Intel may be the industry leader in semi-conductor based chips, its growth has stagnated due to its 10nm processors not being up to the usual standard. Since AMD has recently perfected its 7nm design, while Intel still struggles with its 10nm, the stock price increase for them has seen a massive discrepancy arise. AMD’s stack saw an unprecedented 83% rise in value, while Intel posted a measly 6% rise.
25. Intel spent nearly $6.54 billion on marketing in 2018, reduced from $8.4 billion in 2016: Intel has one of the most widely recognized marketing campaigns in the world, with its ‘Intel Inside’ deal with the leading manufacturers. Essentially if manufactures visibly advertise the ‘Intel Inside’ brand, they are entitled to a substantial discount for Intel’s products. However, recently, Intel has slowed down considerably in its marketing, opting to divert more funds to its R&D and manufacturing divisions. While this did decrease their marketing budget by a sizable amount, their overall revenue still dropped heavily.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
26. Intel was #43 on the fortune 500 list for 2019: The fortune 500 lists the top 500 companies in the world based on their revenue. It should come as no surprise that Intel has managed to rate in the top 50 consistently since 1991, going under 50 just twice.
27. The cost for printing one transistor is less than printing a character in a newspaper: Intel’s focus since its creation has been on creating cheaper and faster transistors. Going from being worth nearly $5 in 1920 per transistors, the price has reduced to less than that of printing one character onto a newspaper in an industrial press. That is less than $0.005 per transistor!