Partners Expect Intel To Zone In On Product Development As Top Exec Blasts 'Lack Of Execution'

A high-level Intel executive blasted the current development of several products -- including the Kaby Lake and Cannon Lake processors -- in an internal memo obtained by The Oregonian this week.

Intel partners applauded the memo, written by Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala, president of the Client and Internet of Things Businesses and Systems Architecture Group, as a signal that Intel aims to tighten its focus on product development and design scheduling.

"Over the last three months I have conducted numerous project reviews with our execution teams, and there is a clear trend that has emerged in these reviews – a lack of product/customer focus in execution that is creating schedule and competitiveness gaps in our products," Renduchintala, a former Qualcomm executive who Intel hired in November, wrote in the memo.

[Related: Intel Partners Shocked At Client Computing Executive Departure In Major Management Shakeup]

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Among the six projects that Renduchintala critiqued in the memo were Kaby Lake, the code name for Intel’s new 14nm microprocessor that the company will begin to produce this year, and Cannon Lake, the code name for Intel’s 10nm microprocessor, due in late 2017.

Renduchintala did not specify any shortcomings of these products, only referring to scheduling issues and competitiveness gaps.

’[This is] exactly what an Intel partner, or any tech partner, loves to hear,’ said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a Kitchener, Ontario-based partner. ’While I am already enthusiastic about Intel's commitment to their business models and to the channel, this is great news for the partner ecosystem. [This is] a leader who sees the real challenges we as partners see throughout our many relationships with vendors.’

To address the shortcomings, Renduchintala said he will create three-person teams of leaders from across the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company’s business segments for the array of products under development.

Grosfield applauded this move as well, stressing that splitting into ’leaner’ business units would help Intel zone in on product development of chip designs and baseband modems.

Intel has seen a number of executive changes as the company deals with the challenges resulting from a weak PC market, which drove the Client Computing Group down 1 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Last week, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said two top executives who worked with Renduchintala were departing the company in the coming week: Kirk Skaugen, Intel's senior vice president for its Client Computing Group, and Doug Davis, general manager of Intel's Internet of Things Group.

Intel executive Aicha Evans, who has overseen the company’s mobile chip segment, also plans to leave the company, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

’While we are not really affected in any way by Intel’s mobile/wireless unit, I have heard that they are behind schedule on their 14nm parts,’ said one partner, who asked to remain anonymous.