Intel’s Optane Business Suffered $576 Million Operating Loss in 2020

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Image: Intel

It’s no secret that Intel’s Optane memory technology hasn’t exactly been a success, but new SEC filings have revealed just how much of a drain that business had been on Intel’s finances back in 2020. As spotted by Blocks & Files, Intel’s annual 10K SEC filing for 2021 reveals that Optane cost Intel over half a billion dollars that year, with operating losses in the region of $576 million. Optane memory was discontinued for the consumer market in January 2021.

Image: Blocks & Files

Optane’s 2020 half billion dollar operating loss (Blocks & Files)

  • Some gory financial details are laid bare in Intel’s annual 10K SEC filing for 2021, which states in the Non-Volatile Solutions Group section (page 33): “Revenue decreased $1.1 billion, driven by $712 million lower ASPs due to market softness and pricing pressure and $392 million due to the transfer of the Intel Optane memory business to DCG.”
  • […] we can see that Intel made a $576 million operating loss on Optane products in its 2020 year. The nine-month number for 2021, $271 million, was 9.1 per cent lower than the nine-month number for 2020, $298 million, and the Q4 2021 revenue number of $121 million was sequentially down on Q3’s $188 million.
  • Did Intel’s Optane business make an operating loss in 2021? We don’t know, but suspect it did because the 2020 operating losses were 134.9 (Q3) to 158.7 (Q1+Q3+Q3) per cent higher than revenues. Applying the lower ratio to the $392 million full 2021 year Optane revenues we would expect a $529 million operating loss in 2021.

A separate report has revealed that Alper Ilkbahar, the leader of Intel’s Optane memory business, is leaving the company. His departure is for personal reasons, according to a memo from executive Sandra Rivera.

Intel Optane Leader Alper Ilkbahar To Depart (CRN)

  • Ilkbahar’s last day will be Feb. 11, and taking his place as vice president and general manager of the Intel Optane Group will be David Tuhy, who previously led Optane and SSD software efforts at Intel, said top executive Sandra Rivera in a memo outlining changes in Intel’s Datacenter and AI Group.
  • “It is with mixed emotions that I share Alper Ilkbahar has decided to leave Intel for personal reasons,” wrote Rivera, who leads Intel’s Datacenter and AI Group. “Alper made many significant contributions to Intel since he joined in 1992 as a design engineer for Intel’s 486 processor and returned in 2016 to lead our Optane memory group.”
  • “Optane revenues have grown to $500M in fewer than 3 years,” Rivera said in the memo, which did not provide further clarity on the revenue figure. “Alper has been a role model for Intel values, a world-class professional, a mentor and friend,” she added.
Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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