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What Does The Future Hold For Intel?

Everyone working in technology spends part of the time trying to predict the future. At Intel, it's a full-time job. "We develop technology for markets that don't exist for products that don't exist," Intel president and chief operating officer Paul Otellini says. "It's a daunting business."

And the crystal ball offers a cloudy picture. That's evident from Intel's missteps of the past and its vision of the future. "Ten years ago, we were in the computer business," says Craig Barrett, who's been Intel's chief executive since co-founder Andy Grove handed over the reins in 1998. "Today we're in kind of the Internet business. Ten years from today ... "

Barrett's voice trails off while he thinks about this one. "Ten years out, it could be health sciences," he says. The transistors that Intel makes today are already the size of DNA molecules or viruses. Doctors and researchers can start to think about coupling sensors, computers, and communication capabilities to diagnose and treat diseases on a molecular level. "I would guess in 10 years--a wild guess--that this could be as big to our industry as the PC is today."

Barrett spends a lot of time thinking about the future--and a lot of money trying to anticipate it.

Intel develops technology for markets and products that don't yet exist, chief operating officer Otellini says

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