In an interview with The Atlantic, Intel CEO Paul Otellini, who steps down today as head of the company, reveals regret at not landing chip orders to power the iPhone.
“We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we’d done it,” Otellini told Atlantic reporter Alexis C. Madrigal. “The thing you have to remember is that this was before the iPhone was introduced and no one knew what the iPhone would do… At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn’t see it. It wasn’t one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought.”
Madrigal notes that this was the only moment she heard regret slip into Otellini’s voice.
“The lesson I took away from that was, while we like to speak with data around here, so many times in my career I’ve ended up making decisions with my gut, and I should have followed my gut,” he said. “My gut told me to say yes.”