Channel programs News

The 10 Biggest News Stories Of 2021

Rick Whiting

This year’s list of the 10 biggest news stories is topped by major cybersecurity and ransomware attacks, accelerating industry trends such as as-a-service and cloud marketplaces, and new leadership pursuing new strategies at some of the IT industry’s biggest companies.

6. Intel Staging A Comeback With Gelsinger At The Helm

Intel is one of the IT industry’s foundational companies and long seen as one of its most innovative. But the giant chipmaker has lost its competitive edge in recent years, including stumbling with its 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer manufacturing processes – just as a resurgent AMD has hit its stride.

One of the IT industry’s biggest news stories this year has been Intel’s hiring of VMware CEO and 30-year Intel veteran Pat Gelsinger as the chipmaker’s CEO and Intel’s efforts to regain its momentum. Since starting in the job Feb. 15, Gelsinger has unveiled plans and unleashed a wave of changes with the goal of returning Intel to “unquestioned leadership” in the semiconductor industry.

Topping the list of initiatives is Intel’s game-changing IDM 2.0 strategy that’s intended to expand the company’s manufacturing capacity and dramatically change the way it makes processors. The plan includes building new manufacturing fabrication plants (including investing $20 billion in two new fabs in Arizona and $3.5 billion to upgrade a New Mexico site), expanding the use of external foundries like TSMC, and launching Intel’s own foundry service business to manufacture chips designed by other companies.

Mid-year Intel instituted a major restructuring, merging its manufacturing and operations group and global supply chain group into a new organization called Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations in a move instrumental to the IDM 2.0 plan. Intel also split the Data Platform Group into a Data Center and AI Group and a Network and Edge Group, and created new Corporate Planning, Software and Advanced Technology, and Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business units.

There have been major personnel changes as well. In November, Intel confirmed that it hired top data center GPU executive Ogi Brkic from AMD to lead the product side of the chipmaker’s new high-performance computing group. Veteran Intel engineer Sunil Shenoy, who left the company in 2014, returned as senior vice president and general manager of the Design Engineering organization. And Gelsinger rehired 28-year Intel veteran Shlomit Weiss, one of the key engineers behind the company’s dual-core and SkyLake CPUs. Navin Shenoy, Intel’s top data center executive, left the company in July as part the restructuring.

Intel is showing signs of regaining its innovative mojo. In August the company unveiled details of its Alder Lake hybrid CPU architecture, which combines two x86 microarchitectures to maximize performance and efficiency for desktop and laptop PCs. Also in August Intel vowed to take on AMD and Nvidia in the high-performance graphics arena with a new brand called Intel Arc. And In October Intel debuted its 12th-generation Core CPUs based on Alder Lake.

But Intel can’t take its foot off the gas as AMD keeps up the pressure. In October AMD launched new EPYC CPUs and Instinct GPUs that it said out-perform competing Intel and Nvidia products. And AMD previewed next-generation “Genoa” EPYC server CPUs with up to 96 cores set to debut in 2022 and up to 128 cores in 2023. In its third quarter AMD reported record revenue, fueled by significant growth for commercial laptop chips and a more than doubling of its data center business.

Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at

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