After a year of missteps, processor delays and design problems, Intel CEO Craig Barrett has called on the chip manufacturing giant to change its methods and improve the way it brings products to market, according to an internal memo posted to the company's corporate intranet and dated July 21.
"There are many reasons for these [product delays and manufacturing issues]," wrote Barrett in an excerpt of the memo provided by Intel. "In the end, the reasons don't matter because the result is less-satisfied customers and a less-successful Intel."
"This is not the Intel we all know and that is not acceptable," he wrote.
The memo was dated five days after news reports surfaced about a delay in the release of the company's latest Centrino mobile chipset, code-named Sonoma, which was pushed back because of a design problem.
This has not been a good year for Intel. The company has experienced problems moving to a new 90 nanometer process technology, causing a delay in the release of its Dothan and Prescott microprocessors.
In June, the company recalled some of its 915 G/P and 925X chipsets because of a flaw in the I/O controller that prevented some computers from starting normally.
This came a month after the company scrapped plans to build two future processors – the next generation Pentium 4, called Tejas, and a future Xeon successor called Jayhawk – in favor of new designs.
"Craig Barrett is very acutely aware of some of the executions that we've been having recently," says Tom Beermann, an Intel spokesperson. "What he was trying to do with this open letter to employees was to indicate that he is very personally focused on it, and that it is taking up a great deal of his own personal attention."
The memo was issued weeks after a senior management meeting in which Barrett brought up his concerns with Intel's recent track record, Beermann says.
"He spoke very openly and directly to them about how important these issues are to them and to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that our recent record was unacceptable," Beermann says.