Tech boost as Intel chooses Ireland to design new chip
INTEL has chosen Ireland to design its next major chip processor line, beating off competition from Israel, Malaysia and the US.
It is the first time that a major product from a global technology firm has been designed in this country, as major US tech companies, such as Apple and Dell, usually design products in the US to be manufactured or supported elsewhere.
The new chip, known as Quark, will bear the words 'designed in Ireland'.
"Those three words are very exciting for us here (in Intel Ireland)," said Philip Moynagh, Intel's general manager for the Quark chip product line
"It will be designed in Ireland and made in the US which is a kind of an inverse position to what we usually see."
Mr Moynagh, who is a 20-year veteran of Intel's manufacturing facilities in Kildare, said that Ireland beat off competition from other Intel locations around the world to design the new line of processors.
"The Israelis, Malaysians, everyone was asked," he said. "We were the most compelling. We weren't the cheapest. But we've shown we can get people together who can learn and adapt. For a project of this importance, we have to be able to move quickly from research to design to develop to manufacturing. It's crucial and we had the core team with all strands needed here."
Mr Moynagh said that tax incentives were not deciding factors.
"You can go to zero tax economies," he said. "But what the business needs is a track record. We have demonstrated delivery on other things here. That was crucial to help swing things in our favour."
Approximately 70 people have been involved in designing the chip and its software, said Noel Murphy, Intel's director of engineering for the Quark product line.
"We took about 15 people out of the fab (manufacturing plant)," he said. "We also hired in Dublin and we took a few out of Shannon. There's a lot of software involved, too. This is all done in Ireland."
The new chip is designed to be used to power everyday items, from 'wearable' technology (such as smartwatches and glasses) to air conditioners and fleet car management. The processor will be sold at a relatively inexpensive price to allow other companies develop new systems around it.
Last month, the newly appointed chief executive of Intel, Brian Krzanich, announced that Quark would be Intel's biggest new chip product alongside its existing Xeon, Core and Atom processor lines.
"This is a hard core product line and the ambition is to sell billions of Quark processors around the world," said Mr Moynagh. "All our Christmases and birthdays rolled into one when the CEO announced that this was going to be the fourth major line of processors. We could not be more proud. There aren't many people who get to introduce new product lines. There are even less who introduce the first of a kind. We're just floating right now."
By Adrian Weckler Technology Editor