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Intel is looking to developers to help power its turnaround

Intel (INTC) faces a long road back as it attempts to reclaim its place as the world’s leading chip manufacturer after falling behind the likes of TSMC, AMD (AMD), and Samsung.

And while part of that journey means engineering new chips and building foundries to fabricate them, CEO Pat Gelsinger apparently believes that courting developers is just as important.

That’s the gist of the company’s Intel Innovation conference, which kicked off in San Jose, California, on Tuesday. The two-day event showcases how Intel can help developers build on its components, with the hope that those same developers will speed up the company’s turnaround.

“Our software ecosystem commitment and the strength of the software capability that we have — it is the biggest, the deepest, the longest of any silicon provider on the planet. Because…it is part of our DNA from the very beginning,” Sandra Rivera, general manager of Intel’s Datacenter and AI Group, told Yahoo Finance.

Intel’s push toward open software and capabilities aims to draw in developers.

“It's always been in our DNA to lower the barriers to entry, to increase developer productivity, and to accelerate that rate of innovation through software,” Rivera said.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger attends the groundbreaking of the new Intel semiconductor manufacturing facility in New Albany, Ohio, U.S., September 9, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger attends the groundbreaking of the new Intel semiconductor manufacturing facility in New Albany, Ohio, U.S., September 9, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

During his keynote, Gelsinger pointed to a number of technologies Intel is working on or rolling out — including its new 13th-generation Intel Core processors and its Arc A770 desktop graphics card, which starts at just $329.

But some of the most interesting showcases came in the form of on-stage demos. In one particularly impressive instance, Intel showed off how its AI hardware and software will enable Chipotle restaurants to detect when individual ingredients are running low and inform workers they need to grab more.

Another demo showed how people can use an app to identify items in a handful of sample photos and then teach the software how to find those items in new photos later on. To demonstrate the capability, Gelsinger and company used the software to identify ripe and unripe fruit in just a few clicks.

“It’s not sufficient just to show up with a lot of great silicon,” Raja Koduri, general manager of Intel’s Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics business, told Yahoo Finance. “That is necessary, but not sufficient. What makes it sufficient is…the developer conversation.”

Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger wears a lapel pin made out of a computer chip that he designed, following Intel's announcement to invest in an Ohio chip making facility, at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger wears a lapel pin made out of a computer chip that he designed, following Intel's announcement to invest in an Ohio chip making facility, at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Intel held its Developer Forum until 2017 when then-CEO Brian Krzanich ended the 20-year-old event. At the time, the company aimed to hold a number of smaller events throughout the year to inform developers of new products and advancements. But Gelsinger clearly sees that as a mistake, and is refocusing the company’s efforts to bring in developers.

“The unifying theme, and the thing that unlocks so much of that value and why the whole theme of this conference is developer enabling, is the software stack. And so software is the big unlock of the hardware,” Rivera said.

Intel will need those developers and software experts to help it right itself after faltering in the chip wars. Revenue declined 22% year-over-year in the second quarter driven, at least partly, by broader economic declines. The company also announced that it was slashing its full-year revenue forecast by $11 billion.

“This quarter’s results were below the standards we have set for the company and our shareholders. We must and will do better. The sudden and rapid decline in economic activity was the largest driver, but the shortfall also reflects our own execution issues,” Gelsinger said at the time.

Now the company needs to ensure that the developers it’s courting are on board and willing to stick around moving forward.

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Got a tip? Email Daniel Howley at dhowley@yahoofinance.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.

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