Business & Finance
06:01 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl

Editor's Note: At Intel, Vision Is Never Out Of Style

It was one of those "are you kidding me?" looks. One of those "you really expect me to answer that question?" looks that journalists sometimes get. The looker was Intel CEO Craig Barrett, during a conversation my colleague Larry Greenemeier and I had with him recently in New York. The question: What business will Intel be in 10 years from now? In an economic climate that makes it difficult for anyone to project what their business will be like in two years, much less 10 years, it does seem like a potentially wacky question. But, hey, vision is back in style. The vision might not be perfect, but quickly adapting to change and customer demand and innovative thinking has never been out of style. They are keys to survival in business.

But Barrett's look was really only half in jest. Intel, after all, spends a lot of money anticipating what the future will look like ($4.4 billion in R&D last year and even more to come this year). And its track record is pretty darned good. The company long ago shed its image as the leading chipmaker. It still leads, but the company's arms have stretched into many interesting new areas of business and consumer technology. And this year, it may stretch a little closer to home--yours. The company plans to invest $200 million in emerging companies developing technologies to create networked homes to let people access music, photos, and other digital content. Intel will still likely play at the building-block level as it does today, but it has the potential to touch millions of people by using its innovative technology to improve other products.

So, 10 years from now? Intel could be in the health-sciences business, looking for new ways to help doctors combine computers and communications to fight diseases at a molecular level. You can read more on p. 36.

Stephanie Stahl

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