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While Intel Corporation scales down its global operation with a major restructuring program, the world's biggest chipmaker still is expecting overall growth at its Israel facilities as it maintains its focus on R&D and looks to new technologies coming out of Israel to spur growth.
"There are going to be increases and decreases and a reshuffling of resources, but there will definitely be growth because of the new factory in Kiryat Gat - we have to have people to operate it," David Perlmutter, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group, told The Jerusalem Post at the Intel Development Forum in Tel Aviv this week. "There will be growth in other activities in Israel, too, but there also will be some areas that we will squeeze, reduce and move people around."
"We are part of global Intel so we have to do whatever is needed, but I think overall, if you do a count, we foresee overall growth looking forward on the Israel side," he added.
Intel announced in September it would cut around 10,000 jobs by mid-2007 in an effort to reduce costs by some $3 billion by 2008.
The company currently employs 6,700 people in Israel and is expected to add 2,000 permanent and 2,000 temporary workers at its new Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat, which is due to start production around the first half of 2008.
Intel's continued investment and growth in Israel also bodes well for the local economy.
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai said Tuesday, during a visit to the Kiryat Gat facility, that Intel's participation in the Ministry's "Project to Develop Industry in Israel" yielded $1.8b. in sales of equipment and materials by Israeli companies in the last decade.
Yishai presented the company with a certificate of appreciation for its achievements in the program.
"Intel prepared more than 40 suppliers, helping them develop new technologies and opening the global markets," the minister said. "Over the last 10 years, those companies have been responsible for exports of approximately $1.2b."
Yishai's visit to Kiryat Gat came a day after the forum, which was hosted for the second time in Israel. It showcased for IT developers and Intel's partners the technological direction in which the company is moving.
Many of its immediate plans revolve around the roll-out of its multi-core multiprocessors, developed in Haifa, which were launched in July for consumer and business desktop and laptop personal computers and workstations.
In line with this, the company announced at the forum that it was opening a new multi-core technology lab in Haifa to allow independent software vendors from the digital health, enterprise, telecommunications and other industries to test their applications on Intel multi-core architectures.
Intel believes the introduction of its multi-core processors this year has given it the edge over its competitors in all computing spheres, including the gaming market where it previously was lagging. The company claims that the technology significantly increasing computers' processing speeds and reduces its energy usage,
While, the dual-core technology involves using two microprocessor execution cores to perform tasks at the same time, Perlmutter said Intel is now ready to take the next step. Intel will launch its Quad-Core microprocessors with four execution cores in November, and present it to the mainstream market in the first quarter of 2007, he said.
Using 65nm-sized electronic circuits in its chips, Intel said the multi-core technology was made possible by the ever shrinking chip size and that it would start shipment of products with 45nm circuits in the second half of next year.
"We are about a year ahead in new technologies," Perlmutter said. "We have shipped over 40 million products on 65nm, while the rest of the industry has not shipped a single one yet. I believe that in 45nm it will be the same."
Having had one of its busiest and most successful launch years in 2006, Perlmutter said he believes the company can maintain the technological pace despite the restructuring.
"The job cuts are not going to be in R&D," he said. "When we talk about efficiency, at least as important as that is effectiveness. The work we've done to affect our efficiency, will also improve our effectiveness, so the fact that we are cutting jobs doesn't mean that we will do less, we intend to do more."