Silicon Valley can be a tough place to wake up on a Monday morning. Case in point, the big news on the start of this week was a Bloomberg report that Aicha Evans, manager of Intel’s wireless group, had left the company.
I have yet to meet Evans who has been in the industry 20 years according to her official Intel bio which is more fleshed out than her Spartan LinkedIn page. As a black female engineering manager who climbed up to be a corporate executive at Intel, she is clearly a highly capable person. From all reports she has been sitting in the extra-hot seat for the last several months of her career, running Intel’s troubled wireless business.
Intel worked hard for years trying to get a bigger share of the mobile boom beyond notebooks. Its ambitious flops included buying then selling off the StrongARM processor, designing cellphone chips that packed outsize blocks of its flash memory and acquiring Infineon’s wireless group which had a significant cellphone modem business.
When Hermann Eul, a former Infineon exec running the wireless group, departed last year, Evans took his hot seat. She went to Mobile World Congress last year and said Intel will lead in 5G modems, a bold and comfortably far off target given the first 5G standards won’t be done until late 2018.
So why is she leaving so soon, if she really is leaving? Intel won’t comment, Evans is not answering my messages and speculation is all over the map.
The Motley Fool guesses it is because her group won’t be able to ship this year a 14nm version of Intel’s integrated SoFIA apps processor. I’m not sure her group is responsible for that chip.
Will Strauss, principal of market watcher Forward Concepts, guesses it is because her group failed to get a design win in the iPhone 7. However, Bloomberg reports one Wall Street analyst speculates Intel will get at least some of those high volume, high value sockets.
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