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Gelsinger's return to Intel 'is like Steve Jobs' second tour of duty at Apple'

Gelsinger's return to Intel 'is like Steve Jobs' second tour of duty at Apple'

VMware's outgoing head will bring his experience with engineering, operating units, ecosystem collaborations and virtualisation to the table

Pat Gelsinger

Pat Gelsinger

Credit: VMware

Soon-to-be-former VMware head Pat Gelsinger’s return to Intel as its CEO is a decision that’s been heralded by some analysts as the right move for the semiconductor giant.

This is according to a report from analysis firm Technology Business Research's (TBR) principal analysts Geoff Woollacott and Ezra Gottheil. 

In their report , the pair praised Gelsinger’s previous experience at VMware, stating he is “very well suited” to be Intel's CEO again from February, especially with the last eight and a half years spent at the virtualisation vendor under his belt.

“The best comparison might be Steve Jobs’ second tour of duty at Apple after having learned about new business model best practices at Next and Pixar,” the report claimed.  

That experience, according to the report, focuses on experience with engineering, operating units, ecosystem collaborations and virtualisation. 

These attributes will be beneficial for Gelsinger, especially as he comes in to steer Intel through its current struggle in meeting demand for chip manufacturing. This struggle has created PC vendor backlogs, according to the report, which have given the upper hand slightly to competitor AMD. 

The report also mentioned Intel will need to take on more agility in its manufacturing policy in its server business, as well as the willingness to “essentially” be a contract manufacturer of third party designs due to the Microsoft Windows/Intel CPU, referred to as Wintel, making way for both accelerated computing and market uniformity and scale.

“Powerful, small, low-cost form factors are going to proliferate as digitisation continues,” it noted. “Edge compute and various smart things will contribute to this shift, and the ability to run smaller manufacturing runs will become paramount.” 

With Gelsinger’s previous 30 years of experience at Intel, five of which were spent as its chief technology officer, the report claimed that the semiconductor giant has previously been run by engineers with “deep technological expertise” in the past.

The combination of these two aspects, the analysts believe, would allow him to overcome any executional struggles that may occur. 

VMware’s operation style of working in operating units is another piece of experience that the analysts expect Gelsinger to draw on — something they claim was around at the virtualisation vendor both during its time as part of the EMC Federation and as part of Dell Technologies. 

“In that capacity, he has undoubtedly gained lessons on how different autonomous units have to learn how to collaborate and coordinate development road maps," the report stated. 

The analysts claim the adaption of this experience could be adapted to timing longer term design changes and allow for Intel to work closer with its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) design partners. 

VMware is also used to ecosystem collaborations due to how its solutions work with other platforms — a trend that the analysts believe will take off in the future, and will in fact be “integral” to Intel’s future game plan. 

As the soon-to-be former CEO of VMware, virtualisation is another area that Gelsinger is no doubt proficient in. This proficiency is likely to come in handy in the years to come, as the report claimed that virtualisation is likely to take off in the near future. 

As an example, the report pointed to 5G rollouts creating demand for edge deployments, with the combination of virtual network functions with compute architectures expected to be a constant challenge for the industry at large, but particularly with network equipment providers. This will then result in network equipment providers taking heat from commodity hardware manufacturers and exascalers, but Gelsinger has previously interacted with players in these spaces in the past. 


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