Intel’s CES went from bad to worse. The pesky journalists at The Register scuttled the industry’s plans to postpone news releases about the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities until a few days after Intel’s CES keynote. As a result, news of the performance-killing patches was dragged into the light the week before the show began. Intel took the brunt of the blow as its stock plunged and it was slapped with three class-action lawsuits, but never mind the fact that the vulnerability impacts nearly every processor vendor.
What could possibly be worse than that? It turns out Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, sold all of the Intel stock he could before revealing the vulnerabilities. Krzanich’s $39 million in transactions led to an increasing chorus of financial publications, U.S. senators, and law firms calling for an SEC investigation for possible insider trading. In fact, a law firm announced it was investigating Krzanich for securities fraud a mere two hours before he took the stage.
That’s a lot to carry into the opening keynote at the world’s largest consumer trade show, but the show must go on. Krzanich handled the crisis with aplomb in a whirlwind keynote. The spectacle almost made us forget Intel’s promise to deliver the obscenely overdue 10nm Cannon Lake processors to market in 2017–at least until Krzanich didn’t mention it during the presentation.
The next day found the company making a hasty 10nm announcement that lasted, according to our precise measurements, 16 seconds. Intel announced it did ship Cannon Lake parts (yes, plural) before the end of the year, and that it would ramp production throughout this year. The company hasn’t told us exactly what it shipped, how many, or to whom, so we’ll just have to assume it was a meaningful quantity.
Intel spent the remainder of CES week diligently rolling out emergency Meltdown and Spectre patches, but that culminated in an announcement on the last day of the show that the patches are causing unplanned reboots on client platforms with Broadwell and Haswell processors. What could be worse than that? Well, the unplanned shutdowns are also happening in the data center. It’s easy to imagine the lawsuits are rolling in faster than the patches.
Perhaps Intel’s misfortune is fitting for an odd CES week that found the heavens uncharacteristically pouring rain down on Vegas for several days. That led to flooding and a power outage that hit Central Hall, which is notable for being the home of Intel’s booth.
Gloom and doom certainly abounded for Intel at CES, here’s hoping the company finds sunnier days in 2018.
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