GRAPEVINE, Texas—For a company most people consider a hardware business, Intel executives talked a lot about its software ambitions over the first day of the company’s freshly launched Vision 2022 event on Tuesday. Software has become so important to the company that CEO Pat Gelsinger said Intel planned to add even more software-as-a-services businesses through acquisitions in the future.
“We’re going to be doing more SaaS, more SaaS acquisitions,” Gelsinger said. “We're going to be bringing on more of those capabilities to pull through our silicon with SaaS services that we're enabling in the industry. My simple formula is silicon plus software equals solutions.”
Designing and manufacturing the silicon necessary is one piece of the data center puzzle for chip companies, but these days they now have to make software tools that help customers optimize their hardware. Running one graphics chip or CPU is relatively straightforward, but at the scale of computation required for AI, the tools developers can use to harness the horsepower matter a great deal.
Gelsinger said Intel was committed to develop open interfaces and open-source tools around them — he used Wi-Fi as an example — though the company plans to make its own implementations of some of them.
“We may have proprietary implementations of those open interfaces, that's our special sauce that we're providing, but they're always against open standards” Geslinger said.