Hiring a senior executive from a major competitor is rare for Intel,
which is known in Silicon Valley for its insular culture, and it
reflects the eagerness of the Santa Clara, California, chipmaker to
improve its struggling mobile business.
Faintuch, who previously oversaw Qualcomm's networking and
connectivity businesses as president of Qualcomm Atheros, is joining
Intel as a senior vice president and co-general manager of the
Platform Engineering Group, Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said on
He will be among Intel's dozen or so most senior executives and will
co-manage the Platform Engineering Group with Josh Walden, a
manufacturing technology expert who previously led the group.
Mulloy told Reuters that in addition to strong network skills,
Faintuch brings experience designing "system on chips," or SoCs,
which combine features like modems, Wi-Fi and memory.
While Intel excels at developing processors for laptops and desktop
computers, it has less experience designing SoCs, which are widely
used in smartphones and tablets.
“We want to accelerate our success rate with SoCs and get the
designs aligned and the roadmaps aligned to do that," Mulloy said.
"We’ve made good progress but there’s more to be done. Amir has
extensive management experience and a strong resume."
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A Qualcomm spokesman had no comment beyond confirming Faintuch's
Bringing in Faintuch, which was announced in an email to Intel
employees on Friday, is the latest move by the company to accelerate
progress in mobile gadgets, where it trails Qualcomm.
Since taking over in 2013, CEO Brian Krzanich has made a number of
sweeping changes designed to counteract a slump in PC sales,
including opening Intel's cutting-edge factories to other chipmakers
willing to pay for access to them.
In May, Intel reached an agreement with Chinese SoC specialist
Rockchip to make chips for inexpensive tablets running Google Inc's
<GOOGL.O> Android platform.
As Intel struggles with declining PC sales and slow progress in
mobile, Qualcomm, whose smartphone chips lead the industry, has been
viewed by many engineers in recent years as a potentially more
attractive place to work.
In 2012, senior executive Anand Chandrasekher, a 25-year Intel
veteran, jumped over to Qualcomm to become the San Diego company's
chief marketing officer.
(Editing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)
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