Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, prophet of the rise of the PC, dies at 94
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[March 25, 2023]
By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -Intel Corp co-founder Gordon Moore, a pioneer
in the semiconductor industry whose "Moore's Law" predicted a steady
rise in computing power for decades, died Friday at the age of 94, the
Intel and Moore's family philanthropic foundation said he died
surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii.
Co-launching Intel in 1968, Moore was the rolled-up-sleeves engineer
within a triumvirate of technology luminaries that eventually put "Intel
Inside" processors in more than 80% of the world's personal computers.
In an article he wrote in 1965, Moore observed that, thanks to
improvements in technology, the number of transistors on microchips had
roughly doubled every year since integrated circuits were invented a few
His prediction that the trend would continue became known as "Moore's
Law" and, later amended to every two years, it helped push Intel and
rival chipmakers to aggressively target their research and development
resources to make sure that rule of thumb came true.
"Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers - or at
least terminals connected to a central computer - automatic controls for
automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment," Moore
wrote in his paper, two decades before the PC revolution and more than
40 years before Apple launched the iPhone.
After Moore's article, chips became more efficient and less expensive at
an exponential rate, helping drive much of the world's technological
progress for half a century and allowing the advent of not just personal
computers, but the internet and Silicon Valley giants like Apple,
Facebook and Google.
"It sure is nice to be at the right place at the right time," Moore said
in an interview around 2005. "I was very fortunate to get into the
semiconductor industry in its infancy. And I had an opportunity to grow
from the time where we couldn't make a single silicon transistor to the
time where we put 1.7 billion of them on one chip! It's been a
In recent years, Intel rivals such as Nvidia Corp have contended that
Moore's Law no longer holds as improvements in chip manufacturing have
But despite manufacturing stumbles that have caused Intel to lose market
share in recent years, current Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger has said he
believes Moore's Law still holds as the company invests billions of
dollars in a turnaround effort.
Morris Chang, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC),
the world's largest contract chipmaker, said Moore was a great and
respected friend for more than six decades.
"With Gordon gone, almost all of my first generation semiconductor
colleagues are gone," Chang said in a statement released via TSMC.
Even though he predicted the PC movement, Moore told Forbes magazine
that he did not buy a home computer himself until the late 1980s.
[to top of second column]
Projection of Intel co-founder Gordon
Moore at the Intel keynote at the International Consumer Electronics
show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 6, 2015. REUTERS/Rick
A San Francisco native, Moore earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and
physics in 1954 at the California Institute of Technology.
He went to work at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory where he
met future Intel cofounder Robert Noyce. Part of the "traitorous
eight," they departed in 1957 to launch Fairchild Semiconductor. In
1968, Moore and Noyce left Fairchild to start the memory chip
company soon to be named Intel, an abbreviation of Integrated
Moore and Noyce's first hire was another Fairchild colleague, Andy
Grove, who would lead Intel through much of its explosive growth in
the 1980s and 1990s.
Moore described himself to Fortune magazine as an "accidental
entrepreneur" who had no burning urge to start a company - but he,
Noyce and Grove formed a powerhouse partnership.
While Noyce had theories about how to solve chip engineering
problems, Moore was the person who rolled up his sleeves and spent
countless hours tweaking transistors and refining Noyce's broad and
sometimes ill-defined ideas, efforts that often paid off. Grove
filled out the group as Intel's operations and management expert.
Moore's obvious talent inspired other engineers working for him,
and, under his and Noyce's leadership, Intel invented the
microprocessors that would open the way to the personal computer
He was executive president until 1975 although he and CEO Noyce
considered themselves equals. From 1979 to 1987 Moore was chairman
and CEO and he remained chairman until 1997.
In 2023 Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $7.2 billion.
Moore was a longtime sport fisherman, pursuing his passion all over
the world and in 2000 he and his wife, Betty, started a foundation
that focused on environmental causes. The foundation, which took on
projects such as protecting the Amazon River basin and salmon
streams in the United States, Canada and Russia, was funded by
Moore's donation of some $5 billion in Intel stock.
He also gave hundreds of millions to his alma mater, the California
Institute of Technology, to keep it at the forefront of technology
and science, and backed the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
project known as SETI.
Moore received a Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian
honor, from President George W. Bush in 2002. He and his wife had
(Reporting by Noel Randewich and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco;
Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Bill
Trott and Rosalba O'Brien)
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