Essay Intel Corporation, 1968-1997

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Intel Corporation, 1968-1997


This case traces the strategic decisions of Intel Corporation which defined its evolution from being a start-up developer of semiconductor memory chips in 1968 to being the industry leader of microprocessors in 1997 when it ranked amongst the top five American companies and had stock market valuation of USD 113 billion.

Intel in DRAM business:

The strategies employed by Intel for DRAM business focussed on:
1. Pushing the envelope of product design
2. Being first to market with newest devices
3. Premium pricing and skim marketing. No emphasis on mass production

Initially, Intel had a successful run in this business as they:
1. Had no immediate competition
2. The demand for memory
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Intel realized the advantage of partnering with IBM and initiated projects like “Crush” and “Checkmate” to counter Motorola to ensure microprocessor supremacy. With the success of securing IBM contract along with more wins, Intel was on set on track to ensure industry dominance.

Exit from DRAMs

Intel TMT had an emotional connect with the DRAMs business. Successful development of 1M DRAM was traded off for microprocessor development more on the behest of the middle line managers who developed the microprocessor technology over time with resources allocated for DRAM research. This was in line with Intel’s entrepreneurial culture which encouraged strategic planning through all functions. By 1986, Intel’s TMT officially approved middle managers’ pursuit to exit from the DRAM business and focus on the microprocessor.

Intel as a Microprocessor company

Intel began supplying microprocessor to IBM. To meet the demand, Intel licensed to as many as 12 other companies to produce 8086 chips, which left Intel with just 30% of the total revenues and profits for that product. Gradually, they reduced the number of licensee to only IBM. Thus they retained the “profits pool” within their value chain.
Meanwhile, IBM, who was Intel’s star customer, decided to produce own proprietary components. This was an inflection point for Intel. It partnered with Compaq and Microsoft, to break the hegemony of IBM. Though Microsoft products did not

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