Intel was founded in 1968 by a chemist, Robert Noyce, and a physicist, Gordon Moore, both of whom had already made waves in the nascent semiconductor industry.
Gordon Moore is best known for his eponymous law: the number of transistors that can be affordably placed on a semiconductor chip will double every two years. Intel’s business model was built on the economic principals behind Moore’s Law.
Moore came up with his theory in 1965—at the time his guess was a doubling every year. He updated to every other year in 1975.
Some experts believe that Moore’s Law will see its demise by 2014 as the size of transistors reaches the atomic level. Even Moore himself says the end is near.
In 2003 it was estimated that about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 transistors are shipped each year, or about 100 times the number of ants estimated to be on Earth.
The price of a sole transistor on a chip is about the cost of a single printed newspaper character.
Intel made its first big break in 1971 with the Intel 4004 microprocessor.
This fingernail-thin 4004 offered the same computing firepower as the room-sized ENIAC, the first ever computer introduced in 1946.
By comparison, the Core2 Duo processor has 100,000 times the number of transistors included in the 4004.
Anyone who has cursed a cubicle can thank Intel founders for helping to popularize the office honeycomb—early on in company history they moved everyone to a cubicle.
Even current CEO Paul Otellini sits in a cubicle.
The cleanroom area of a semiconductor chip fabrication plant is thousands of times cleaner than the typical hospital room.
Intel employs more than 80,000 people worldwide.
Half of them are based in the U.S.
In 2008 alone, Intel spent $5.7 billion on R&D.
Intel refers to its non-stop, iterative process of developing processor microarchitecture as the "tick-tock" model.
The first year is the "tick" phase, where focus is spent on new silicon process technology and refining the existing version of the microarchitecure.
The second year is the "tock" phase, where the goal is to deliver a brand new microarchitecure.
In 2009, Intel held 14.2 percent of the market, double the 7.2 percent held by Samsung Electronics in the number two spot.
In 2009 Intel was ranked the 23rd most powerful brand in the world.
Intel has made its intentions to take the mobile market by storm very clear with its recent spate of acquisitions in 2010.
Most notable were the $7.8 billion purchase of McAfee and the $1.4 billion pickup of Infineon’s Wireless Solutions Business in August.
Intel believes McAfee will help it bring antivirus down to the chip layer, an especially important security fundamental for advancing mobile devices.
Meanwhile Infineon’s wireless business, according to Intel, gives the company portfolio a broader range of wireless options from Wi-Fi through 3G and WiMax.
Intel’s venture capital arm, Intel Capital, has invested in a number of notable companies over the years including Research in Motion (RIM), WebMD, Red Hat and Citrix.