Partners: Andy Grove Left Long-Lasting Impact On Silicon Valley And IT


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Andy Grove
Andy Grove

Andy Grove, who may have done more than any other person to develop Silicon Valley as the center of the global IT industry, according to some solution providers, passed away Monday at the age of 79.

Grove was the third Intel employee and eventually rose to the roles of president, CEO, and chairman of the microprocessor powerhouse. No cause of death was listed.

Grove was born Andras Grof in Hungary in 1936, and survived both the Nazi occupation of Hungary and the Holocaust of World War II, as well as the post-war Soviet occupation of the country. He left Hungary in 1956, and arrived in the U.S. a year later, then changed his name to Andrew Grove.

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After earning a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, he joined Fairchild Semiconductor, where he worked with Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore. Grove joined both after they left Fairchild to launch Intel, although he was not considered a co-founder of the company.

Decades later, he would leave an indelible mark on the IT industry and helped elevate Intel into one of the world's most recognized brands, solution providers told CRN.

As director of engineering, Grove led Intel's transformation from a focus on memory chips to the new world of microprocessors during the mid-1980s, when DRAM manufacturers faced falling demand and the dumping of chips on the market by Japanese manufacturers. Grove later led negotiations with IBM that resulted in IBM using Intel microprocessors for its then-new personal computer business.

Grove became Intel president in 1979, and chairman in 1987. Ten years later, he also became CEO, but dropped that title in 1998. He retired as chairman in 2004, but remained a senior advisor to the company for several years afterwards.

Grove's leadership of Intel was controversial at times. For instance, in 1994, a few missing entries in Intel's lookup table for its divide operation algorithm led to an error in the P5 Pentium's floating point unit, producing inaccurate results in approximately one in every 9 billion floating point divides. Intel called it a "slight reduction in precision," and tried to downplay its significance.

Later, Intel offered to replace processors, but only for those Pentium users who could prove that their systems had been affected by the flaw. That caused a public outcry, forcing Intel to offer to replace all flawed Pentium processors on request and cover the costs associated with the replacement program. That later led Intel to quickly report issues going forward.

Grove was instrumental in building Silicon Valley as the cradle of the IT industry and inspiring future generations of IT developers, according to many solution providers who worked with Intel over the years.

Grove's legacy is his dedication, spirit and passion for the industry, said Charles Liang, CEO president, and chairman of Super Micro Computer, a San Jose, Calif.-based system builder and motherboard manufacturer.

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