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The Empire Strikes Back

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

No sooner do I publish a column that begins "It's been a long time since Silicon Valley was known for silicon" than Intel, one of the defining silicon-based companies, comes out with a big announcement.

Ultimately, though, I think the Larrabee project (which is all about souped up computer graphics) underscores my point. Sure, Intel's strategy is based on its prowess at manufacturing computer chips. But the demand is driven by the new Silicon Valley, stuff like gaming and online services.

The technology still matters, as do the companies with the chip fabs and electrical engineers (and, as the column says, the big revenues). But as Clay Shirky says about social media, "these tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring." If Larrabee is a winner, the old "Intel Inside" branding campaign may get new life, but in the end the technology becomes invisible to most folks, and the things you can do with it define the industry.

 
 
 
 

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