Back to the ’90s with Microsoft and Intel

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This week: Back to the '90s with Microsoft and Intel

Satya Nadella

It's been a long time since Intel and Microsoft - the much-feared "Wintel" duopoly of old - dominated business headlines and captivated the world's attention in the same 24-hour period.

And yet this week felt like a return to the '90s as the two tech giants' latest moves had the industry buzzing. Let's start with Intel, the fallen chip champion, which unveiled a big comeback plan on Tuesday.

  • After losing its chip manufacturing edge, Intel has been stuck in a business-model identity crisis. Should it split its manufacturing and design operations? Should it produce chips for other companies? Should it outsource its own production? Intel CEO Pat Gelisinger, just one month in the top job, gave his answer on Tuesday: Yes to all of the above!
  • Intel will double down on chip manufacturing, pouring $20 billion to build two new fabs in Arizona. The fabs will produce the most advanced chips for Intel, and for outside customers - a shrewd move that allows Intel to benefit from US and European anxieties about dependence on China, and to (eventually) tap into all the new chip buyers that have created today's shortages.
  • But Intel will also use outside contract manufacturers, like TSMC, to produce some of its own chips. There's something for everyone, though it still may not be enough to bring back Intel's glory days, as Rosalie Chan reports.

Microsoft meanwhile has already gone through its reinvention. Under Satya Nadella's now seven-year reign as CEO, the company has thrived by focusing on business customers and cloud computing.


File under curious...

my pillow ceo mike lindell documentary
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Goodbye Vocl, Hello Frank. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's social network hasn't launched yet, but it's already gone through a name change. Frank, as the service will be called, has nothing to do with frankfurters or Frank Sinatra. The name signifies the site's antipathy to political correctness and its devotion to "forthright and sincere" expression.

WeWork's SPAC Shaq attack. The office space sharing business has only gotten uglier in the 18 months since WeWork scrapped its IPO, with the pandemic turning downtown business centers into ghosttowns. But WeWork will get its public listing after all, thanks to the SPAC boom. The company will merge with BowX Acquisition Corp, a blank-check company that counts basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal as an advisor, in a deal that values WeWork at $9 billion - about one quarter of its $47 billion valuation in 2019.

Better than Zoom. Coronavirus vaccines have put the end of lockdowns in sight. But for those who've decided they actually enjoy staying indoors, the cloisered life won't have to mean taking a vow of celibacy according to London-based Raspberry Dream Labs. The company is developing a virtual reality set up that delivers sounds, visuals and scents, as well as haptic pulses that provide a sense of being touched. Pandemic or not, the company believes the future of intimacy is remote.


Quote of the week:

"I don't think we can expect that any platform will find every instance of harmful content. I think we should hold the platforms to be responsible for building generally effective systems of moderating this content."

facebook zuckerberg misinformation hearing

- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Thursday's Congressional hearing responding to a question about whether he should personally be held liable for damages caused by misinformation on Facebook.


Recommended Readings:

We identified the 194 most powerful people at Google under CEO Sundar Pichai. Check out our exclusive org chart.

Insiders say incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy picked a close ally when he hired Adam Selipsky to run its $51 billion cloud business - and it could make all the difference

Europe's unicorn founders and investors want to make it easier to spread wealth and compete with Silicon Valley

LASHINSKY: After almost 6 years and billions of dollars, Google med-tech spinoff Verily is still a scattershot jumble of moonshots

Coinbase has become a 'breeding ground' for startup founders, with the company's help and sometimes money, former employees say

A researcher turned down a $60k grant from Google because it ousted 2 top AI ethics leaders: 'I don't think this is going to blow over'


Not necessarily in tech:

Apollo's hard-driving culture is extreme even by Wall Street standards, and it's burning through young workers. Here's why $450,000-plus pay and rules to ban weekend emails aren't enough to keep them happy.


Sponsor content:

This startup CEO used his experience as a product designer for one of Japan's top automakers to build a solution that is reshaping personal mobility

This woman CEO started a company that uses AI to eliminate mundane tasks and eventually achieve a 4-hour workday


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- Alexei

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