Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) is a global technology company, headquartered in Santa Clara, CA and founded in 1968. Intel currently dominates the computer components industry, marketing such products as processors, flash memory, motherboards, and chipsets used in desktops, notebooks, and mobile internet devices. Since 2005, Intel has been led by CEO Paul Otellini. Intel ranks No. 188 on the 2008 Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies, with more than $38 billion in revenue and nearly $7 billion in profits.
When they founded their new company in 1968, scientists Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce wanted to call it "Moore Noyce," perhaps as a nod to Hewlett-Packard. After realizing that "more noise" might not be the best moniker for an electronics company, they settled on "Intel," short for "Integrated Electronics" -- and then had to buy the rights to that name from the hotel company currently using it.
Under the leadership of Andy Grove (employee No. 3), Intel got its start building computer memory, the precursors of today's RAM and flash memory chips. But in 1971, Intel also invented its first microprocessor, more or less tying Texas Instruments as the first company to cram numerous miniaturized transistors onto a single chip. When Japanese rivals made the memory market increasingly competitive in the late '70s and early '80s, Grove decided to bet the company on microprocessors -- at the time, sought only by hardcore geeks and hobbyists building their own crude computers -- instead. Fortunately for Intel, one of its customers for those processors was IBM, which used the chips in its fledgling line of personal computers, giving the company a prime spot to profit from the home computer revolution.
Today, Intel is the top dog in the semiconductor business, fending off constant attacks from scrappy microprocessor rival AMD and devoted graphics guru NVIDIA. Long associated with PCs running Microsoft's Windows -- remember those disco-dancing engineers in their brightly colored clean-room suits? -- Intel scored a coup in 2005 by winning over Apple, which had once scorned its chips, with the strength of its new and upcoming processors. Intel continues to work diligently to fulfill co-founder Moore's famous law that the speed of microprocessors will double, or their price will fall by half, roughly every two years. So far, so good.
IBM provided financing to allow Intel to expand into microprocessors but in return required that Intel license AMD to produce 80286 microprocessors as a second source of supply. Hence, Intel and AMD share technology roots.
Recent Mentions on Fool.com
- Ford Burns Rubber in China, While Select Medical and Chevron Shareholders Cash In
- Intel: Where Are All of the Bay Trail Android Tablets?
- The Dow's 5 Most Hated Stocks
- Intel Corporation Eyes a Major Growth Opportunity With This Recent Move
- Google May Be Undermining Microsoft's Best Chance to Save Windows