Data Sheet—Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Back in 2010, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based semiconductor giant opened its fabs to other chip companies, enabling them to design their own products in its factories. At its annual developer conference on Tuesday in San Francisco, Intel took its services for “foundry customers” a step further, announcing it will also offer them the ability to develop chips based on an altogether different—and competing—architecture, ARM.
If you’ve followed Intel’s longtime insistence on its x86 chip architecture (and its longtime rivalry with ARM), you will appreciate the significance of this move. On the other hand, if you’ve been around the tech industry long enough, you will also know that cutthroat competitors often end up partnering with each other. Put simply, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Or at the very least, let your customers join ’em—and get paid in the process.
It’s hard to see this as anything but a win-win for both companies, even if it is a roundabout admission that x86 is no longer the only dominant chip architecture out there. For Intel, it can increase fab utilization rates, helping the company compete with big foundry rivals like TSCM and Samsung. ARM, meanwhile, can rest assured that every major fab now has the ability to develop ARM-based silicon. (SoftBank, which recently announced it will acquire ARM for a whopping $32 billion, is also likely to benefit.)
Intel has already announced several new customers, along with its ARM-friendly news. These include LG Electronics and Altera. What’s next? Will Intel start manufacturing its own chips based on the ARM architecture? Stranger things have happened in tech.
BITS & BYTES
Apple plans research center in China. Few details are known, such as headcount or location, but reports suggest the intention is to strengthen relationships with local partners and universities. The operation could open before the end of the year. CEO Tim Cook met with government officials this week in Beijing. (Wall Street Journal)
Intel CEO enlists software developers for latest platform war(s). The chip giant has huge aspirations for augmented reality, drones, robotics, and the Internet of things. One thing it learned the hard way about its struggles in mobile tech: Intel needs apps experts and programmers to succeed, especially those with skills in artificial intelligence and analytics. (Fortune)
Ford plans self-driving taxis by 2021. One investment the automaker is making to get there is a $75 million infusion for Velodyne, which makes collision avoidance technology. (Velodyne disclosed a total of $150 million in new backing on Tuesday.) (Fortune, Recode)
Huge layoffs in the wings at Cisco? Network equipment maker is planning to cut up to 14,000 jobs—roughly 20% of its workforce—as it pushes into new categories such as software-defined data center technology, reports tech news site CRN. The company isn’t commenting. Cisco had about 70,000 employees as of April 30. It began offering some of them early retirement packages earlier this year. (CRN)
Unicorn valuations are in trouble. A new report suggests that one-third of technology startups valued at more than $1 billion will be acquired or go public at a lower price. (Reuters)
Facebook’s incentive program for improving diversity isn’t working. The social network’s system of rewarding recruiters with more points for minority hires appears to have had little impact on diversifying its workforce. (Wall Street Journal)
Google unfurls new cloud database services. The offerings, which process and store massive amounts of data, are meant to compete head-on with similar products from Amazon and Microsoft. (Fortune)
PEOPLE & CULTURE
Longtime Amazon cloud exec is leaving. Adam Selipsky, who led sales, marketing, and business development, joined the company in 2005 after six years with RealNetworks. Little is known about his future plans. (Fortune)
Can tech’s tattle tycoon trump Thiel? A Fortune investigation into Gawker Media’s finances reveals that though founder Nick Denton is down, he is not out.
Even as the company’s websites assailed tech giants like Alphabet, Apple, and Facebook for byzantine schemes meant to reduce their tax burden, Gawker Media quietly played the same game. Our investigation reveals that Denton is as much a creature of the tech industry as he is a critic—and that Gawker’s slippery but legal tactics may, in the end, help the former Financial Times journalist survive Thiel’s crusade with funds to spare. Why Denton may have the last laugh.
Plus, Univision emerges as the winning bidder for the Gawker blog network.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The One Number That Could Derail Apple’s Stock Rally, by Aaron Pressman
How a Diverse Twitter Network Will Help You Get Ahead at Work,
by Ellen McGirt
App Fatigue Is Taking a Toll on Smartphone Owners, by Barb Darrow
5 Crazy Devices at Intel’s Annual Developer Conference, by Jonathan Vanian
Why Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Is a Worth Challenger to the iPhone,
by Lisa Eadicco/TIME
ONE MORE THING
Spruce up your on-camera skills. Cigna, Goldman Sachs, and IBM are among companies asking some job candidates to submit video responses during the first round of interviews, rather than meeting with a human. (Wall Street Journal)