Intel may be a $55 billion chip-making powerhouse, but it isn’t afraid to make big changes to meet market demands, chief executive Brian Krzanich said at Fortune Brainstorm Tech on Tuesday.
In other words, Intel’s former chief executive Andy Grove‘s “adapt or die” mantra is still fully operational.
Case in point, Intel (INTC), which stopped focusing on memory years ago, is now converting some of its chip-fabricating plants to make—you guessed it—memory.
Memory, data centers, and the Internet of things movement are what Krzanich sees as the three core markets for Intel, which has seen the PC segment—where Intel used to make most of its money—slow down.
With the explosion of cloud computing and Internet-connected devices generating tons of data—which by association needs to be stored and processed off-site—memory like Intel’s proprietary 3D XPoint memory and storage architecture becomes critical, Krzanich asserted.
Intel has estimated repeatedly that 50 billion “things” or devices will be online by 2020. By devices, Intel doesn’t just mean smartphones—a market segment that Intel famously missed—but also cars and other machinery. By 2020, the average user will generate 1.5GB of data per day, he specified, underscoring the massive amounts of data that will need to be stored and processed somewhere.
In many Internet of things scenarios, data has to get from the devices in the field to a cloud, where it is stored in memory. Autonomous car applications, for example, require high-speed memory to access images fast, Krzanich said in response to a question from Fortune’s assistant managing editor Adam Lashinsky.
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Speaking of changes in a much different manner, Lashinsky also asked Krzanich about a report in early June that Intel was going co-host a fundraiser for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. At the time, Krzanich took to Twitter to deny he was backing Trump, and the event was subsequently cancelled.
Krzanich added that the event in question was initially supposed to be “a conversation about issues,” including diversity and making America great in manufacturing.
“It turned into a fundraiser, and we backed out. It is not our business to support a person,” he said.
As for the reporting around this event which became a non-event?
“Oh, well,” he said.