Andy Grove wasn’t one to mince words. In 2005 I interviewed him for a profile of Intel’s newly appointed CEO, Paul Otellini. The rap on Otellini was that he wasn’t a technologist, like the first three, larger-than-life chief executives of Intel: Bob Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Grove. Grove’s one-word response: “Bullshit.”
This was typical Grove. He was an American original, in a way only an immigrant can be—a thick-accented, scientist-turned-businessman who spoke forcefully and wrote gracefully in English on topics as varied as his management philosophy, his battle with prostate cancer, and his story of coming to the U.S. Grove was famously profane, harsh, driven, and driving. And as his onetime research assistant Robert Siegel remembered him Tuesday, when Grove died at home in Los Altos, Calif., at the age of 79, the titan of Silicon Valley also wasn’t above being challenged.
Grove is one of the small handful of people who created Silicon Valley as it is today. Intel’s accomplishments run deeper than having developed a powerful monopoly position in the microprocessors that drove the growth of personal computers. Grove’s Intel also showed how to use marketing—“Intel Inside”—to convince consumers they wanted a product whose technical specifications they’d never understand. His Intel gave cubicles a good name, a place where the lowly and the godly worked near one another. Grove also showed businesses of all stripes the importance of change when he took Intel out of the memory-chip market as it was being clobbered by Japan.
Grove was a mentor to a generation of Intel executives and also other entrepreneurs who shared his values, dreams, and tactics. Chief among these was Steve Jobs.
He also was a fierce defender of Silicon Valley. When I mentioned to him in 2005 that I’d recently read the seminal Tom Wolfe profile of Bob Noyce in Esquire from 1983, one of the finest pieces of journalism I’ve ever read about Silicon Valley, Grove reacted violently. “I hated that article,” he said. “That man didn’t understand this place at all.”
Grove certainly understood this place. After all, he helped make it what it is.
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BITS AND BYTES
Apple wins reprieve in iPhone unlocking case. The Justice Department disclosed Monday that it may have found a way to get around encryption preventing the FBI from studying potential evidence on an iPhone used by a gunmen in the San Bernardino, Calif., attack. Today’s hearing was canceled. The government has until April 5 to report back. (Ars Technica, New York Times)
Cisco shakes up leadership. Kelly Ahuja, the 18-year veteran who ran Cisco’s sales to communications service providers, has been replaced by Yvette Kanouff, a former Cablevision executive who joined the company two years ago. The networking giant has been losing share in that market. Several other changes are in the offing, including the departure later this year of Pankaj Patel, executive vice president of product development. (Wall Street Journal)
Adobe doubles down on marketing analytics. The marketing software company is following up a record quarter with an ambitious data-sharing initiative introduced Tuesday at its annual customer conference. The co-op addresses a central dilemma associated with digital marketing: how to correlate data gathered from the multiple “touch points” where a consumer might see a brand’s advertising or marketing offers. (Fortune)
GoDaddy launches Amazon-style cloud services. The company, which hosts millions of websites for small and midsize businesses, now lets them rent servers or data storage space on demand. This should keep its customers from looking elsewhere for those services. (Fortune)
Supreme Court picks up Apple-Samsung patent case. The court will consider a $399 million judgement against Samsung for allegedly mimicking certain aspects of Apple’s iPhone design. The main patent in question is one that describes how the “pinch-to-zoom” feature works on touch devices. Samsung thinks it should be declared invalid. The case will be heard in the high court’s next term, which starts in October. (Fortune)
British software giant buys app management specialist. Micro Focus, which made its name in the mainframe era, will pay $540 million for Serena Software, which specializes in tools for managing software deployments and updates. The move will help Micro Focus move legacy applications to a wider range of software platforms more easily. (Fortune)
Comcast now sells services on Amazon.com. Here’s a unique way to keep people from “cutting the cord.” In its latest push for new subscribers, cable giant Comcast is selling Xfinity television, phone, and Internet service bundles through a dedicated page on the mammoth e-commerce site. Amazon will earn a referral fee on new sign-ups. (Wall Street Journal)
Spotify tops 30 million subscribers. Despite tough competition from Apple Music, the streaming music services company has signed up 10 million paying customers over the past nine months. For perspective, as of January, Apple had 11 million subscribers for its competitive offering. (Fortune)
Apple goes all out on rival Microsoft. During its first big product introduction blitz of 2016, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company rolled out a smaller version of its iPad Pro tablet device, targeting corporate clients and office workers. The product, which competes with Microsoft’s high-end tablets such as the Surface Pro and Surface Book, was unveiled with a 9.7-inch screen size while its larger iPad Pro sibling still has a 12.9-inch display.
Apple is betting that corporate customers will want a smaller version of the iPad Pro, which went on sale last fall, framing it as more comfortable to carry while also retaining support for Apple’s Pencil stylus and removable keyboard. Read Fortune writer Jonathan Vanian’s complete analysis here. Plus, here are three other developments revealed during Monday’s event garnering extra attention:
- A diminutive iPhone that doesn’t skimp on power
- Apple Watch price cuts
- The debut of CareKit, a platform for digital health apps
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Death of Intel’s Andy Grove felt across tech industry by Jonathan Vanian
Xbox may be considering digital game trades by Chris Morris
Medium spins off Matter magazine and turns it into a media incubator
by Mathew Ingram
Zenefits rival raises more capital, led by insurance allies by Heather Clancy
Can the woman who transformed online shopping do the same for health care? by Lauren Schiller
PayPal brings money transfers to Cuba by Leena Rao
A tale of two Twitters by Mathew Ingram
ONE MORE THING
Apple’s new “Liam” robot has a very specific job. It rips apart iPhones, so the tech giant can recycle the precious metals components in them more efficiently. (TechCrunch)
|This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.|