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Intel Building New Silicon to Mitigate Meltdown and Spectre Flaws

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted January 26, 2018


Intel reported its fourth quarter and full-year fiscal 2017 financial results on Jan. 25, as the company continued to deal with the fallout from the widespread Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities.

For the quarter, Intel reported revenue of $17.1 billion, a four percent year-over-year improvement. For the full year, Intel's 2017 revenue came in at $62.8 billion, up from $59.4 billion in 2016. Looking forward, Intel provided guidance for first quarter revenue to be in the range of $15 billion, a five percent year-over-year gain.

Since news first broke on Jan. 3 about the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that impact Intel's CPUs, the company has been busy trying to put out patches to remediate the issues. Some of those patches have had their own issues, leading to system reboots and degraded system performance.

"We've been [working] around the clock with our customers and partners to address the security vulnerability known as Spectre and Meltdown," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said during his company's earning call "While we made progress, I'm acutely aware that we have more to do; we've committed to being transparent keeping our customers and owners appraised of our progress and through our actions, building trust."

One of the things Intel is working on is a new generation of silicon that will fix the Meltdown and Spectre issues at the CPU level.

"We're working to incorporate silicon-based changes to future products that will directly address the Spectre and Meltdown threats in hardware, and those products will begin appearing later this year," Krzanich said.

Financial analysts on the Intel earnings call asked Krzanich what the financial impact would be from the two security issues. Krzanich said Intel doesn’t expect any material impact from the security exploits on its spending or product costs.

Enterprise Demand vs. Cloud

Intel has also faced some challenges in demand from enterprise customers as increasing numbers of organizations move their workloads to the public cloud. It's a situation Intel is prepared for.

"While we continue to see enterprise customers offload workloads to public clouds, we're also seeing those customers prioritize performance solutions for hybrid and on-premise build-outs," Krzanich said.

As Intel begins its fiscal 2018 year, Krzanich noted Intel as a company will be turning 50 years old this year.

"Over the last 50 years, we invented the architecture and manufacturing technologies that have made personal computing, the Internet and the cloud not only possible but pervasive," Krzanich said. "The journey hasn't been7 without challenges; nothing worth doing ever is."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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