Tech Trivia : Did You Know? This Week in History …

12th July 2023

July 1968 … The Start of ‘More Noise’.

On 18th July 1968, Intel was incorporated.

These days, you’ll know them as the wildly successful manufacturer of microchips and indeed the processor that you’re using right now in whichever device you’re holding may well have “Intel Inside”.

One of their big-breaks came when they correctly predicted that memory chips were going to have a lot of competition, so they took action and went into the microprocessor market.

However, they’ve also created some less-than-stellar products over the years as well. Did you know they used to make digital watches for example? Gordon Moore (one of Intel’s founding fathers) famously wore his Microma watch for many years after they’d decided to abandon the digital watch market, calling it his ‘$15 Million dollar’ mistake.

Not that it was all wasted because the pioneering integrated circuitry which helped spawn the age of digital watches directly translated into advances in the field of mircroprocessors.

As an aside, Intel entered the watch market again in recent years with smartwatches and wearables and fitness trackers and once again they failed to make it commercially successful and abandoned the market. The reason for Intel’s forays into the watch market every few decades isn’t because they’re hell-bent on making watches! It’s because they’re hell bent on pioneering and innovation in markets that show promise, which means making (and accepting) mistakes.

Even their name was a failure at first … they were originally called Moore & Noyce, which people thought sounded like “More Noise” and so the name Intel (from ‘Integrated Electronics’) quickly replaced it which is fair enough because Robert Noyce did invent the integrated circuit after all, being the prodigious physicist that he was.

It’s said that if you want more success, you need to experience more failure. So, it pays to get organised.

One way of describing organised-failure is “Research” and Intel has highly-renowned research divisions and collaborate with universities around the world and – crucially – joint-venturing with other businesses for their research.

Internal research and development isn’t the only way to test new products and markets because Intel have bought many businesses over the years including Microma’s aforementioned washed-up watches to the acquisition of Altera, an attractive augmentation which now provides them with steady profits.

All in all, not bad for a company founded by a humble physicist (Noyce) and a chemist (Moore).