Intel Corporation, Chips & Cars: Strategic Analysis
But not all is pink. When Intel decided to move into the automotive industry, it also acquired new competition. Google, Tesla, Amazon, Lyft, Uber, Didi, as well as the rest of the traditional car industry and its suppliers — think and imagine the exact same future…
“With new industry comes new competition…”
Intel is a strong chip manufacturer, but competing in the automotive industry it does not have the knowledge nor the experience. But remember, Intel has already made their irreversible choice…
Both software and hardware companies are trying to make alliances with car manufacturers. Everyone saw what happened with Tesla since its foundation in 2004 (read here a review I wrote for Tesla). Other tech companies want a piece of that pie. It is one thing to supply a technology solution to the automotive market, and actually become a manufacturer, like Tesla did.
Amazon, for example, chose to be a supplier, and it already supplies Alexa to not a few car companies (although these days they are receiving some back fire). Google obviously has its power with the world mapping.
And where is Intel?
Intel is a giant. An old-fashioned one. Old-fashioned giants are hard to change direction and innovate. This is actually why I have so much appreciation to that company after my 4 years serving them. They have made some very harsh decisions in the past decade. But, even with all that good spirit, Intel has over 120,000 employees today worldwide. That ship must have a good direction, otherwise…
Intel has invested a lot. They have a lot at stakes here. Autonomous automotive industry can be their way to glory, or to become their final blow after the smartphone one.
“Path to Glory, or Final Blow: Intel is still replaceable”
To succeed, Intel must make their product offering a necessary. An automatic selection by others. The ONLY choice. The Delta Model describes this situation as a Locked System. At the moment, Intel is still replaceable by its traditional competitors: AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm, NXP. Remember that data centers are key part of its target, and AMD managed to “steal” some clients lately from Intel. We don’t think about Intel like we do about Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon. Intel is strong, but not in the big league.
Intel needs to play their strategy game. Linking industries together was one smart move. Linking Mobileye product with an insurance discount was an even smarter one. Now the question is what do they want to become: a tech supplier or a car manufacturer?
“Set a locked system with cross-industry product offering; Partner with the suppliers of the automotive industries; and Prepare the right data center partnership”
Intel wisely chose the route of a tech supplier (as seen from Mobileye’s website). This is what this company knows to be, and did well so far in the computing world.
Next step is to select partners. Any manufacturer would probably be happy to partner with Intel. Volkswagen, BMW, FCA, Daimler, Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Hyundai — Intel targets them all, not one.
In order to force any autonomous vehicle manufacturer to use Intel’s tech, Intel needs to reach the automotive industry’s tech suppliers, like: Bosch and Siemens.
The second task for Intel to work on is the data centers and connectivity. Elon Musk has lately created a link between SpaceX and Tesla, which threatens to take down the entire communication industry, as we know it today.
These tasks are not easy, and Intel has a long way to do, beating down their semi-conductor competitors as well as gaining control in the automotive industry. But I am sure Intel knows why they chose the automotive sector, and I wish them a lot of success in their path.