Published in PC Hardware

Former Intel woman guns for Chipzilla with ARM chips

by on06 February 2018

James targets Intel's data centre market

Intel has been doing well thanks to its datacentre market, but that could vanish if the company's former president has anything to do with it.

Renée James has formed a startup called Ampere Computing which has built a datacentre chip which should make her former bosses eyes water.

James has been quietly building Ampere Computing’s business over the past few years, she didn’t want to reveal the company to the public before its semiconductor chips were ready and were tested by a few customers like Oracle, Microsoft, and Lenovo, James said.

Ampere has a prototype 3.3-GHz ARM-based processor, which it plans to launch later this year. Ampere, which was built from the ashes of Applied Micro, wants to take ARM into space where it currently has promise but little market share: the 64-bit chips that power servers and storage devices in the world’s data centres. Ampere has hundreds of employees, including 300 that it acquired from Applied Micro through an acquisition.

Ampere’s chips are based on designs from semiconductor company ARM Holdings, which has also recently licensed its computer chip designs to Qualcomm that could help the mobile chip giant create a data centre processor competitor to Intel.

James claims Ampere’s server chips are tailored to meet the needs of cloud computing giants like Microsoft that want more energy-efficient processors.

She said she recruited several computer chip veterans from Intel and its rival AMD to lead Ampere, and that her tenure at Intel has prepared her to start her own company. James’ final years at Intel involved dealing with shrinking sales in the company’s PC business as it shifted its focus to data centre chips.

James was behind Intel's McAfee purchase which did not exactly work out as planned.

Regarding her thoughts on Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich and how he’s been running the company since she left, James said :“I am a shareholder so that I can say nothing but, ‘Outstanding job Bryan.’” Presumably, James is referring to Intel’s steadily rising stock price in recent years.



Last modified on 06 February 2018
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