5 Fascinating Facts About The Technology King : Intel

The Tech Pioneer’s Five Interesting Facts :

1. How Intel Got Its Name

Intel was founded in 1968 by two ex-Fairchild Semiconductor employees, Gordon E. Moore and Robert N. Noyce.

The company was originally called “N M Electronics.” Legend has it, their preferred name — “Moore Noyce Electronics” — sounded too similar to “more noise,” not a great brand message in that industry.

“Integrated Electronics” was considered as a possible name, but was taken, so the first syllables of each word were used instead.

“Intel,” described by Noyce as “sort of sexy,” was eventually agreed upon. The pair then purchased the “Intel” trademark from the Intelco hotel chain for just $15,000.

2. Intel Once Made Watches

In 1972, Intel moved into the jewelry market with the acquisition of digital watch maker Microma.

At the time, digital watches were considered seriously high-tech, selling for hundreds of dollars, so the move was not a surprising one. The anticipated market for such high-tech timepieces was 200 million units.

However, when competition saw watch prices drop to the $10 mark, Intel decided to apply its tech expertise to other areas, selling the Microma brand and assets in 1978.

It’s reported that Gordon Moore still wears his Microma watch, stating: “It is to remind me, if I ever find myself thinking of getting into other consumer products, of the trouble we’d be getting into.”

3. Intel’s Bunny People

You may recall in 1997, Intel created a fun, iconic advert for the Super Bowl, which featured colorful, dancing Intel technicians in special suits.

These were nicknamed (and in fact trademarked) “BunnyPeople.” The characters frequently appeared in advertising campaigns for the Pentium microprocessor series from this date on.

However, the origin of the “BunnyPeople” dates much further back to 1973, when the “bunny suit” became standard Intel cleanroom attire.

Worn by Fab technicians, it was a dramatic change from the more relaxed procedures predating 1973.

One Intel employee recalls the suits were such a novelty that people used to find excuses to visit the Fab labs just so they could put a bunny suit on.

The bunny suit is now a part of Intel’s company culture. One year it even made for a classic April Fool’s joke: Employees were informed they would be able to choose from new designs, like “Camouflage Comfy,” “Polka Dot Parka” or “Miss Kitty.”

4. Intel’s Customized Champagne Tradition

As a company tradition, Intel has customized bottles of champagne made to celebrate special occasions and milestones.

The tradition dates back to the company’s early days, “when a circuit finally worked or a product was shipped for the first time, the news was announced over the paging system. Then, someone would break out the bubbly.”

One Intel employee recalls a time when so many corks were popped against the acoustic tile ceiling in the cafeteria that it had to be replaced.

In 1973, when Intel hit its first $3 million month, the then director of marketing ordered bottles of “Domaine d’Intel.”

The Museum of Computing also houses bottles in its collection that celebrate a Fields Sales Force success and the first $250 million quarter.

5. The 8080 Intel Asteroid

While Intel can claim many firsts, one of the most seminal was 1974’s 8080 microprocessor, the first 8-bit true general purpose microprocessor, which soon became an industry standard.

In 1987, the CERGA Observatory named a Caussols main belt asteroid “8080 Intel” in honor of the invention.

Today, Intel’s main Santa Clara phone number is (408) 765-8080, surely no coincidence.

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