Intel CEO Blasts U.S. R&D Policy

Outgoing CEO Craig Barrett makes IDF his bully pulpit on spectrum allocation, WiMAX adoption and R&D development. Intel: Different Chips, One Platform

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel CEO Craig Barrett may be leaving his post this year, but he won't be going quietly.

The outgoing executive used his time at his last Intel Developers Forum to lambaste the government's adoption rate with broadband technologies, and blast its level of investment in both K-12 education and scientific R&D at the university level.

"The biggest ticking time bomb is the state of our K-12 education system because other countries are approaching university level education at the same ages," Barrett said during his keynote at Intel Developers Forum here. "The U.S. needs to adopt a Hippocratic oath when it comes to IT, basically 'Do No Harm' in their policies."

Intel said it spends about $100 million a year on activities to support education programs in the U.S. and more than 50 countries around the world. Barrett called R&D funding for university-level physical sciences, which has been flat for two decades, an "Achilles heel for innovation."

"For innovation to flourish," he said, "We seek to reinforce government policies that foster innovation and technology advancement. These are also essential to continued progress and growth for our industry."

But Barrett's biggest barbs came at the expense of the U.S. broadband industry, which the exec said was painfully slow in promoting adoption and raising data rates, compared to the potential of wireless wide area metropolitan connections based on 802.16 technologies -- commonly known as WiMAX .

"It will be better than the half-ass broadband that we have today," Barrett argued. "One or two megabyte per second speed [with DSL or Cable] is not broadband. Fifty-meg is broadband."

Intel's commitment to WiMAX has been well documented. The company championed the standard for last mile access in rural areas. It sees a huge opportunity for metro areas that need outdoor and private networks, the extension of hot spots, and backhaul applications that lack line-of-sight.

Barrett said with the help of carriers, which are beginning to adopt Intel silicon in their communication devices, WiMAX should be prevalent in 2006 at the earliest with more mainstream adoption expected in 2007.

Under Craig Barrett's leadership, Intel became a manufacturing and technology giant. Barrett also led the move to diversify the markets Intel serves, with huge investments in communications companies and technologies. Barrett said he was leaving the company in good hands with incoming CEO Paul Otellini. He also noted that 40 years after Gordon Moore first identified the ability to double the number of transistors in the same silicon area every two years, that Intel was speeding up - not down with the help of multi-core processors and processor extensions like Hyper Threading and Virtualization.

"Every CEO wants to leave his mark on the company he leads," Nathan Brookwood, analyst at semiconductor research firm Insight 64, told internetnews.com. "Until now, Intel has been led by PhD technologists. Paul Otellini brings the skills of a marketer and business manager to the job, but lacks his predecessors' technology credentials. His goal is to transform the company into a market-focused organization that asks its customers what they want, instead of Intel's traditional approach of telling customers what they want."

Barrett said without the proper R&D investment, the company would never have been able to accomplish half of its innovations, including bringing 65-nanometer process technology to silicon this year and a roadmap that expects to see 22-nanometer products in 2011.

"There is lots of life left in this technology and every time we run into a roadblock our scientists will come up with a way to innovate and extend it," Barrett said.






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