This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi, Ben Bajarin and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the news from Apple’s Spring product launch event, discussing the latest quarterly earnings results from Netflix and Intel, and chatting about a new Microsoft study on work habit challenges from the pandemic. Note that this will be the last Techpinions podcast that I host as I am transitioning to my own Everything Technology podcast.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the news from Nvidia’s GTC conference, chatting about the release of Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 and other accessories, and previewing the upcoming product launch events from Samsung and Apple.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the recent announcement of Verizon’s deal with AWS to combine private 5G with AWS Outpost private cloud for a new type of edge computing, chatting on Intel’s new 3rd generation Xeon Scalable server CPUs and their impact on 5G infrastructure, discussing changes in the smartphone market with the exit of LG and the debut of Samsung’s low-cost A series, and analyzing T-Mobile’s 5G for All announcements on free 5G phone upgrades and the debut of their 5G Home Internet service.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell discussing the announcement of Arm’s latest generation v9 chip architectures unveiled at their Vision Day event and analyzing the news from Cisco’s CiscoLive event, including their latest efforts on Webex and hybrid work.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing Intel’s new IDM 2.0 manufacturing strategy, discussing Microsoft’s recent Remote Trend Index study on hybrid work expectations and chatting about a new Samsung chip co-designed with Marvell that’s designed to improve the power efficiency of 5G network infrastructure equipment.
Yesterday, Intel announced a series of efforts that may one day be looked back at as foundational for their turnaround. Despite Intel being in a strong market position in many of the areas they compete in, the leadership zeal Intel once brought to the technology industry had been waning, and when it came to looking for points of innovation in computing, Intel is not the first company to come to mind.
In many ways, Intel is in a position very similar to Microsoft before Satya Nadella took over. Microsoft, like Intel, remained dominant in many markets. But the issue was a staleness surrounding the company that was leading to fading relevance as an industry and category leader and technology innovator. Nearly overnight, Satya Nadella brought renewed vigor to Microsoft, and Pat Gelsinger appears to be having the same impact on Intel. With the right leader, no company can ever be ruled out. Microsoft proved this, and Intel may very well prove this with Pat Gelsinger at the helm.
Intel’s Renewed Foundry Efforts
One of the main announcements is Intel’s renewed efforts at being a competitive foundry making semiconductors for companies other than Intel. Some may remember, Intel has tried this before, but those efforts failed for a variety of reasons. The main one being the priority for Intel was always their own products and not others. So what has changed this time around?
The first is a very different market than when Intel first attempted being a foundry. There has never been more demand for semiconductors than right now, and that demand will remain and grow stronger for years to come. Amidst significant semiconductor demand, leading to chip shortages for every segment, Intel remains one of the only semiconductor manufacturers with the capacity to offer immediately.
Another significant difference is Pat Gelsinger is a different leader, with different ambitions and goals than those who led Intel’s previous foundry efforts. Intel Foundry Services is a stand-alone business unit, which reports directly to Pat Gelsinger. Intel Foundry Services will have its own PNL, revenue goals, and growth targets. This is a much different model than what Intel had set up in their prior foundry efforts.
Lastly, Intel Foundry Services will have one of the more robust I.P. portfolios for foundry customers. This statement from the press release is succinct “IFS will be differentiated from other foundry offerings with a combination of leading-edge process technology and packaging, committed capacity in the U.S. and Europe, and a world-class I.P. portfolio for customers, including x86 cores as well as ARM and RISC-V ecosystem I.P.s.” Two things about this are unique to Intel foundry customers.
The first one being x86 cores, which assume some x86 I.P. At the moment, AMD is the only other company offering a cooperative effort to build custom x86 products for customers in their semi-custom business. While it is unclear how deep down the customization efforts would extent for Intel x86 I.P., but it will be extremely interesting to see how foundry customers take advantage of x86 I.P.
The other element of interest to me is Intel’s packaging technology, particularly their 3D packaging technology, which is quite innovative and unique. Foundry customers can take advantage of this unique technology which could turn out to be a significant differentiator for Intel Foundries, as well as Intel’s own products going forward.
While there is no slam dunk for Intel Foundry Services, I remain conservatively optimistic about their efforts. As I’ve outlined before, Intel being competitive as a foundry is extremely important for U.S. technology companies, so I personally believe it is in the best interests of many that Intel succeeds in this area.
Catching up in Process Technology
A fundamental part of Intel’s turnaround efforts is to close the gap between their foundries and TSMC and Samsung in process nodes. Intel will roll quickly past 10nm, something they should have done years ago, and look on track to deliver 7nm in a timely fashion and then quickly move to 5nm on a regular cadence going forward. Part of the reason I have more confidence Intel can do make these process node advancements going forward is due to their embracing of EUV and their less aggressive density targets. Both of these recipes are what TSMC has used to remain a steady cadence, and there is no reason to believe Intel can’t do the same.
Assuming Intel can close the gap, even if not catch up, there is reason to believe they will remain extremely competitive even if they are not making products on the same nodes as TSMC and Samsung. A lot of that has to do with Intel’s packaging technology which Gelsinger argues is the best packaging technology in the world, and there is some truth to this claim.
Intel is not actually as far off as its competition when it comes to performance. They are a bit farther when it comes to performance-per-watt but not in sheer performance. This is a testament to their architecture, and as we will see with future competitive products is a testament to their packaging and transistor design.
Getting to the point of at least some parity on process technology is essential for both Intel’s own products manufactured by Intel and customers of Intel Foundry Services. The next few years will be critical at an execution level for Intel to deliver on this front and for us to gauge their success at meeting regular cadence schedules.
I’ve always been curious to see what it would look like for other companies to collaborate with Intel to have their architecture designs run on Intel’s advanced packaging technologies. Hopefully, soon we may finally see if Intel process and package technology is truly that differentiated. I’d also love to see what Intel packaging technology looks like designed on Arm (hint Apple).
Outsourcing Intel Chips
As interested as I’ve been to see what other semiconductor companies can do with Intel’s packaging technology, I’m also quite interested to see what Intel architecture looks like running on other company’s process technology. We have been watching to see if Intel would outsource its CPU designs on a different process, and it looks like we may see that reality.
As a part of Intel’s announcements, it became clear that they would now start outsourcing some CPU designs to TSMC and possibly Samsung in the future. While this may be a trial run at first, I’m extremely interested to see how Intel CPU designs perform on a leading-edge TSMC process. Again, this will bring quite a bit of clarity to the quality of Intel’s architecture and potentially their process as well.
The other area of intrigue this creates is the competitive dynamic between Intel Foundry Services and other foundries. If Intel (who is Intel Foundry Services’ largest customer) sees significant benefits from their products made at TSMC, then it creates a competitive dynamic that did not exist before. Intel should be building its products on the best technologies, and if that becomes clear it is not Intel Foundry Services, then IFS will be truly competing for Intel’s business. A fascinating storyline to watch develop.
What is also new to this equation, and one that will be interesting to watch is the dynamic of Intel now competing with any outside foundry they make their products with. Intel may be partnering with TSMC, but they will also be trying to compete with them, directly, with Intel Foundry Services. This, in my opinion, is the most awkward part of the overall new structure and announcement. We will watch this new dynamic closely.
Overall: I am significantly more bullish on Intel now than I was a year ago. Pat Gelsinger is the right guy at the right time, and as I mentioned with the observation on Microsoft, sometimes all it takes is the right leader. These announcements are a huge step in the right direction, but as Gelsinger continued to emphasize during his presentation, it will all boil down to execution. That being said, now more than any time in the last decade, I’m more optimistic Intel can execute going forward.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Ben Bajarin, Bob O’Donnell and special guest Steve Baker of NPD looking at the results of tech-related products sales trends in categories ranging from TVs and PCs to WiFi routers and monitors, throughout 2020 and into 2021, and what that says about the future of the tech industry.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell discussing the 10th birthday of Google’s ChromeOS and Chromebooks, chatting about an interview with the leader of Qualcomm’s Licensing Division, research on how work from home impacts women, a deal between automotive supplier Bosch and chipmaker GlobalFoundries, and analyzing the investor analyst days from Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T and what they say about the future of 5G in the US.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the news from Microsoft’s Ignite event in areas such as their Azure Percept IoT hardware and Microsoft Mesh mixed reality platform, discussing the release of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound technologies, and chatting about the multiple new business-focused 5G offerings from T-Mobile, including their Home Office Internet fixed wireless product.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Mark Lowenstein and Bob O’Donnell discussing a host of 5G-related news items from the past week including the results of the critical C-Band auctions for mid-band 5G radio spectrum, the announcement of T-Mobile’s new unlimited Magenta Max 5G data plan and what it implies, and the debut of HPE’s new telco-focused division and its first offerings, as well as the new partnership for 5G infrastructure between Intel and Google.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the recent quarterly earnings from Amazon and Google, chatting about the release of a new range of videoconferencing hardware and software from Poly, and discussing Microsoft’s new Viva employee experience platform and the potential impact on hybrid work environments.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the quarterly results from Microsoft, AMD, Apple and Facebook, discussing the growing battle between Apple and Facebook, and chatting about the RobinHood stock trading controversies.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Ben Bajarin and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the Q4 2020 financial results from Intel and IBM, discussing Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming service and its potential opportunity and impact as a 5G service, and chatting about the rumors of a potential VR headset from Apple.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the CES 2021 digital trade show and the news and trends coming from it and discussing Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked Event and the launch of their new Galaxy S21 smartphones.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell discussing the impact that social media platforms had on this week’s events in Washington, D.C., reviewing the new TV announcements from Sony and Samsung and the PC announcements from Dell, analyzing the automotive news from Harman and Mercedes-Benz, and evaluating the 5G-related news from Qualcomm and Verizon.
(Note that this was recorded just a few hours before Twitter banned Trump, Google removed Parler from the Play Store and Apple threatened to remove Parler from the App Store.)
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi, Ben Bajarin and Bob O’Donnell discussing what they expect to be some of the most important tech industry-related trends in 2021. Specifically, they discuss hybrid work environments, the evolution of semiconductors, 5G and connectivity, corporate social responsibility, gaming, and hybrid cloud and edge computing.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the news from Cisco’s WebexOne conference, discussing new chips from Marvell for the 5G Open RAN market, debating the Facebook antitrust news, talking about T-Mo’s new 5G Mobile hotspot and related plan, Microsoft’s addition of support for 64-bit Windows app emulation on Arm-based PCs, and Google’s addition of new features for Workspace that make it easier to operate with MS Office files.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Ben Bajarin and Bob O’Donnell discussing the debut of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chip and its potential impact on the premium smartphone market, analyzing the news on custom chips, new computing instances and new hybrid cloud options from Amazon’s AWS Cloud computing division, and chatting about the debut of Google’s Android Enterprise Essentials for simply and securely managing fleets of business-owned Android phones.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell discussing Verizon’s recent 5G Swap offer with iPhone 12, Apple’s changing of their App Store fee for developers, reviews of the new M1-based Arm Macs, reviews of AMD’s latest Radeon 6800 GPUs, analyzing the potential impact of the Microsoft’s new Pluton security processor for PCs and its partnerships with AMD, Intel and Qualcomm, and chatting about the new inclusion and diversity officer at Apple.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Ben Bajarin and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the debut of Apple’s Arm-based M1 processor and the new Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro that include them and discussing the news from Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek’s Summit event and the new low-cost 5G modems and Arm-based, Chromebook-focused SOCs that they unveiled.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell discussing AMD’s purchase of Xilinx and the debut of their Radeon 6000 GPUs, chatting on news from Lenovo’s TechWorld event, analyzing quarterly earnings from Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and more, and speaking about Cisco’s Partner Summit event.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell discussing the news from Apple’s big launch event with a detailed analysis of the latest iPhone’s new features, its 5G support, and its impact and opportunities for US 5G carriers including Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Carolina Milanesi and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the news from Nvidia’s GTC Conference and Arm’s Developer Summit, as well as the potential impact of a merger of those two companies, discussing the latest version of Google’s productivity suite, chatting about the latest desktop CPU introductions from AMD, and pondering the potential impact of the US government’s huge new report on potential antitrust concerns with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
In July, Google gave us a taste for a more integrated collaboration experience when it brought Meet and Chat into Gmail. This week the metamorphosis continued as G Suite becomes Google Workspace. Back in July, I looked at the news from a communication vs. collaboration perspective, making the point that communication is really at the center of Google’s collaboration strategy. However, this week, as Google talked more about Workspace and how it plans to deliver a more integrated experience across collaboration and communication, it seemed that content is at the center of the Workspace and att the center of collaboration.
With Workspace, Google is addressing some specific issues. First, the fact that due to Covid-19 collaboration has changed. Of course, we have all experienced that in one way or another and when we move past the hours of video analysis one aspect that really has changed is that you are likely to be collaborating more with people outside your organization. This is because those face to face meetings which would have been independent of the work to be done are now happening online. This means that the tools must be more flexible when it comes to sharing information and collaborating than they might have been before.
Second, Google wanted to address first-line workers by making them better connected with their own organization which is likely not in the same place as they are. This goal of connecting people to get the job done extends to reaching consumers, the final user of whatever product businesses are trying to sell. By doing so, of course, Google bridges the consumer and the business world by giving people (2.6 billion MAU) tools they are already very familiar with.
While we will eventually go back to an office, we will face a more heterogeneous work environment we did before the pandemic. This means that connecting people who are not physically together in a rich but simple way will remain a priority for a long time.
Workspace also builds on Google’s focus on delivering helpful technology. This has become the big theme that brings together the different areas of the company from the CEO Sunday Pichai to the Head of Made by Google Rich Osterloh. Helpfulness in this case comes from a simplified user experience by also from the intelligence that Google is able to offer on top. One of the features that better explain this balance between simplicity and richness is “picture in picture” which gives you the ability to hear and see people you are collaborating live with on a document. This featured was launched in July for Gmail and Chat and it will soon also include Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Not Just a Rebranding
I am sure, given there isn’t an actual new product, one could be tempted to see this as a rebranding exercise. But the new features that have been introduced and the way all the tools come together really speak to the direction Google is taking with productivity and the G Suite name no longer fitted with that vision. Workspace is no longer a bunch of apps that take care of the different tasks you need to perform, it’s an orchestrated experience empowered by AI. I wish there was a different name than Workspace, to be given to this hub especially considering consumers will have access to it as well. The name is often seen as a location, a landing place, which, although technically correct, fails to convey the active lift these tools deliver. Yet, it is certainly a better illustration of the experience Google wants to deliver compared to G Suite.
Google also introduced a new pricing plan that adds one level for medium businesses and now takes Workspace from small businesses all the way to large enterprises in a more granular way. Mostly the difference in price accounts for the number of users, cloud storage size, and security features. Not much has changed with the first two levels, Basic and Business still priced at $6/user and $12/user. The new tier called Business Plus edition offers enhanced capabilities for $18/user to those organizations that might be large in size (up to 250 users) but don’t need the entire enterprise-level offerings. I would argue this last one is the category where Google has a lot of opportunities and where organizations might have struggled in the past to feel their needs were properly addressed.
Betting on Content Rather than Meetings
There were two aspects of the announcement that I found particularly clever and I want to highlight.
One is that Google does provide the option not to sign up for the whole experience. Thanks to Workspace Essentials ($8/active user), which lets a business get started with video and collaboration without having to replace their current email or calendar systems. This can lower the barrier of entry considerably if you think about how much more effort and disruption migrating mail and calendar system represents for an organization. It might also help Google entering businesses dominated by Microsoft with a “land and expand” tactic. Our data points to a lot of crossover within organizations between Office 365 and Google Workspace especially for Docs that remain the preferred tool for collaboration. This is not a new offering but it is certainly one that has become much more relevant in the current environment when digital transformation is accelerating but also when IT professionals are already extremely stretched.
The second aspect that I believe will give Google an advantage long term is centering the Workspace experience on the content to be created or the task to be completed rather than the way in which one will do so. There are many collaboration hubs offered by the likes of VMWare, Citrix, and of course, Microsoft. Office 365’s Workspace equivalent is Teams where users are led to choose how they work together first. In other words, I get to Microsoft Teams to do a video call or a chat while I get to Google Workspace document or email and then decide how I communicate with others bout the task at hand. Albeit subtle, I think the approach Google is taking might better withstand the return to the office and a shift back towards face-to-face meetings when we will eventually be able to do so.
It will be fascinating to see how all these different hubs will drive value to users. Locking people in is never a good approach. Creating different points of entry and delivering value across the board will ultimately determine the success across a workforce that is probably the most varied in both age and skills than it has ever been.
This week’s Techpinions podcast features Ben Bajarin and Bob O’Donnell analyzing the news from Microsoft’s Ignite event, chatting about multiple semiconductor chip and IP announcements from AMD, Arm and Qualcomm, and discussing the large range of products and services that Amazon unveiled.