Podium

The man behind Intel Inside

Paul van Gerven
Reading time: 3 minutes

Steve Ballmer threw chairs, Steve Jobs was ruthless and Elon Musk is a slave-driver: the titans of the American tech industry are often driven, but rarely palatable. And it’s not a new phenomenon. In the 1980s and 90s, Intel CEO Andrew ‘Andy’ Grove was widely admired despite his reign of terror, thanks to the reversal of fortune he was able to effect within Intel and, in a sense, all of Silicon Valley. Grove died on 21 March 2016 at the age of 89.

In 1968 Grove was the first employee hired by Intel’s founders, Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. He came with them from Fairchild Semiconductor, the company that invented the planar process. Intel understood far better than Fairchild the potential of this discovery, and the MOS technology inextricably linked with it. In 1971 the company put the world’s first commercially available microprocessor on the market.

Ten years later – Grove had since worked his way up to company president – Intel earned most of its daily bread on memory. When the Japanese semiconductor industry began making inroads into this business, Grove was the one who championed a change of course. With an eye on the PC’s ascent, Grove insisted that Intel needed to return its focus to the processor.

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