The other thing is to make sure that there is a real sense of collaboration with the business groups, in terms of bringing the new technologies into the product line. You can’t just throw these things over the wall and say, ‘Here’s a proof of concept, you figure out all the details and call us back.’ Increasingly, corporate technology [researchers] at Intel and our digital enterprise groups have joint laboratory activities, where people from the development side and the research side are working together to make sure that we make these transitions successfully – and not just successfully, but on time.
TR: Intel’s view has been expanding outward, toward developing markets. What are your most important international initiatives right now?
JR: That’s what I spoke to at the Emerging Technology Conference. We used to think about products primarily for U.S. markets and American consumers, [but] that’s a very small part of the global market. The other assumption people had was, ‘Well, if it’s good for the U.S. customer, be it a business customer or a consumer, then it will be just fine in Asia or Latin America or the Middle East.’ It’s become quite clear that that doesn’t work, and isn’t going to work going forward.
So we’ve basically expanded our skill set over the last four or five years to include the kind of expertise that it takes to understand how culture, living standards, and even climate affect the way systems are designed. That’s what’s driving the regionally optimized platforms we’ve introduced. That’s only going to grow – it’s not a one-shot deal. There’s nothing like getting products out there and seeing how people react to them.
TR: What’s your favorite example of one of these regional platforms?
JR: Well, the China Learning PC. [The China Learning PC is a prototype computer designed to address concerns expressed by Chinese parents that kids will use home PCs to waste time. It comes with a key parents can use to lock the machine into regular mode or “education” mode, restricting access to non-education-related software and websites - Ed.] And I think our ICafe products [for managing large numbers of PCs in Internet cafes, also being tested in China- Ed.] are hugely popular. Internet cafes are not a phenomenon here in the U.S. to the extent they are internationally. That’s clearly a product that appeals to non-U.S customers, and it has satisfied the needs of both users and operators, the people who run these Internet café businesses. It’s providing a perfect example of how you take a concept like that, bring it into a specific market, and use the learning for subsequent generations of design.
TR: Now that you’re CTO, what do you hope to accomplish first?
JR: Good question. We should really talk again in 90 days. Those first 90 days are the critical ones for anyone in a new job.