The Intel Empire Strikes Back
The new Medfield mobile chip from Intel. Photo: Kenji Aoki
Some of the biggest bets in the computing industry were made on the fifth floor of Intel’s Robert Noyce Building, on the northeast corner of the chip giant’s main campus in Santa Clara, California. It was here that CEO Andy Grove cemented the “Wintel” partnership that would dominate the PC industry for more than a decade. In 2005 newly installed CEO Paul Otellini announced an agreement with Steve Jobs here, bringing Apple computers into the fold.
Despite these gambles, a staid, conformist ethos extends throughout much of Intel’s headquarters. The office decor on the fifth floor consists of a boring gray matrix of chest-high cubicles set against walls emblazoned with an ugly dusty-rose-colored stripe. Khaki-clad engineers filter silently through the aisles with identical black laptops, filing into the windowless conference rooms where they spend much of their time. In all, Intel’s offices seem to have as much spontaneity as one of its sterile chip fabrication facilities.
Until you get to the pirate flags.