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Intel CEO Letter Focuses on Balancing Empathy and Continuity During COVID-19 Crisis
by Daniel Newman | March 20, 2020

The News: Today, Bob Swan, Intel CEO, shared the following message with customers and partners: To our valued customers and partners, I am reaching out to you to confirm our strong commitment to you during the ongoing coronavirus situation. While this remains a developing situation, Intel factories around the world continue to operate on a relatively normal basis. We are here for you. Read the full letter in Intel’s Newsroom.

Analyst Take:  There are no shortage of notes coming out from CEOs to customers, employees, partners and others during these unprecedented times. What grabbed my attention about this thoughtful note from Intel CEO Bob Swan was the company’s clear commitment to being part of the solution for COVID-19 as the company supplies technologies that are key to everything from biotech companies developing new drugs to supplying chips for the PCs that are needed to outfit remote workers whom have been displaced from their offices and students who have been sent home to learn online. Bob Swan outlines some of the other ways Intel is supporting the world during the outbreak of COVID-19:

  • Artificial intelligence and high-performance computing are expediting scientific research. In China, Intel teamed with Lenovo and BGI Genomics to accelerate the analysis of genomic characteristics of COVID-19. Our combined work will further advance the capabilities of BGI’s sequencing tools to help scientists investigate transmission patterns of the virus and create better diagnostic methods.
  • Robots are helping medical professionals care for patients while keeping them safe from infection. Intel platform-based robots have been deployed in Chinese hospitals to protect doctors and nurses by transporting medical supplies and surgical equipment to reduce human-to-human interactions.
  • Additionally, Intel is working alongside our customers and partners to enable technology solutions for virtual learning for those with the greatest need among our students and teachers. The stakes are higher than ever for a new level of access and functionality for all at home.

The examples provided show the very tangible and specific support that components from Intel are providing to the ongoing relief efforts and the impact of these efforts is material. What Bob Swan didn’t specifically point to in his note was the concern that I believe he and other key component suppliers may have today about the view of their operations as critical to remain open in an area where all non-essential business has been shuttered for the time being. I sense that is a concern for Swan and Intel, as it should be, both because the impact of significant product delays and delays in new product development that could happen if a significant portion of the workforce is sent home. There is real reason for concern if the government agencies in charge do not see those important contributions and benefits, which could impact many businesses, students and most importantly patients and healthcare workers down the line. 

Overall Impression: Technology is More Critical Than Ever

During these turbulent times, it is easy to look at something like technology as a non-essential; especially in comparison to the development of drugs, the manufacturing of ventilators, the building of temporary hospitals and the management of staples being continued to be delivered into the community. Intel is among a small, but critically important number of companies that develop the technology that enables broad industries to innovate at pace and scale; something that is desperately needed right now. I believe it is important that companies like Intel are given the latitude to continue operating at near full capacity so the research, development and production of components and technology that can solve front line problems and support the requirements of organizations trying to develop mid-term and long-term solutions for global crisis such as the the one we are facing now with COVID-19.

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

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Image Credit: Intel
Daniel Newman