Intel mercy kills IDF

Opinion: When you decide not to talk anymore……

Intel - logoIntel just knifed IDF and it was a mercy killing. The last few IDFs attended by SemiAccurate clearly showed how Intel’s comms strategy was at odds with developers so this is no surprise.

In a tersely worded statement, Intel said, “Announcement: IDF17 San Francisco Intel has evolved its event portfolio and decided to retire the IDF program moving forward. Thank you for nearly 20 great years with the Intel Developer Forum! Intel has a number of resources available on intel.com, including a Resource and Design Center with documentation, software, and tools for designers, engineers, and developers. As always, our customers, partners, and developers should reach out to their Intel representative with questions.

Over the last few years, Intel has gone out of their way to not release technical information to anyone, press, developers, and even random onlookers even if they need it for the right reasons. This is not by chance, it was a strategic decision for reasons that SemiAccurate can’t comprehend or rationalize. When you throw a conference to educate developers, it is called Intel Developer Forum mind you, then you might consider actually doing what the conference promised.

Intel didn’t. Nothing exemplified this more than the Sandy Bridge ‘technical’ architecture sessions at IDF 2015. There were two, one for CPU core architecture and one for GPU architecture. The core architecture session was, to put it mildly, a joke. There was no information revealed, and when developers asked very basic questions, they were told that wasn’t information they would be getting. When the developers replied in an exasperated tone that it was information they needed to do their work, you know, to develop Intel products to sell Intel chips in, they were again told no. Many commented to SemiAccurate afterwards and used words a family publication like this can’t reprint, Most mentioned the cost of the conference tickets during their praise filled monologues about the CPU maker.

On the GPU side it was great, they actually included much of the information developers needed and wanted. They had very clear and concise printed materials, answered basic questions, and developers were quite happy. After the talk was over, most were complementary and mentioned the difference between the CPU and GPU sessions. Intel did their job and developers, at least GPU developers, were very happy.

When word of this disparity hit Intel management, to their credit they took swift action to rectify the situation. By the next day, word had reached SemiAccurate that the GPU team had been severely reprimanded for, err, doing their job. We are not sure if they still have jobs after that breach of protocol, you know, providing developers who paid ~$1500 for a conference to find out about Intel hardware, with the information they needed. It seem that doing the right thing for paying customers is now a punishable offense at Intel.

In light of this and the severe financial pressures on Intel that are showing if you know where to look, IDF had to go. Intel has made it policy to not say the things developers need to make Intel based products. The press can’t get die sizes, transistor counts, or basic information any more either, and again this is an intentional strategy. In light of this, how could IDF survive? After the past three years of an information-free IDF, there was no point in anyone going much less paying to go.

So Intel did the right thing by knifing IDF. The pain they are going to get from the press would be nothing compared to what they would get if they put on another show under the new messaging debacle umbrella. As someone who attended the conference for about 15 of the 20 years, it is a sad day. For Intel itself however, it is just another in a long line of self-inflicted wounds that are going to continue unabated until those calling these shots are purged. On a personal note, my feeling go out to the good people at Intel toiling under idiotic management.S|A

P.S. Tim, my wife just said we had the schedule right years ago when she heard the news.:)

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate