Intel Developer Forum: Only the strong survive

The world's largest chip maker is only hosting three of its popular Intel Developer Forums (IDF) this year in an attempt to rein in costs and resources associated with the event.

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The world's largest chip maker is only hosting three of its popular Intel Developer Forums (IDF) this year in an attempt to rein in costs and resources associated with the event.

It's a big change. Last year Intel hosted more than a dozen IDF events. Locations included traditional venues in the US, China, Taiwan and India, but also included Brazil, Russia and Egypt.

This year only the strong survived. Beijing, San Francisco and Taipei are the three locations that have supported two IDFs per year for the past few years, each attracting over 4,000 core attendees per year, said Intel spokesman David Dickstein.

The three locations also hold business importance. The US and China are Intel's two largest markets and China is its fastest growing market. Taiwan is a vital location for PC component suppliers and hardware makers.

They are crucial for Intel as it strives to deal with compatibility, technology, and supply issues surrounding its microprocessors.

IDF events have grown into some of the most important technology events in the world. Intel's global clout, combined with a propensity to release major technology news and products, as well as keynote speeches by top executives and visitors, as well as access to company engineers who can help to tackle technology problems have ensured the forum has grown as a major technology event each year.

It started from humble beginnings in 1997 when 200 delegates met in a hotel in San Francisco. The second IDF was held later the same year in Silicon Valley, attracted 1,000 engineers and customers. Last year 29,000 people visited IDF events around the world.

Analysts say that there appears to be little downside for Intel in slashing the number of IDFs. Despite the change from hosting the forum in multiple cities last year to just three this year, Intel will probably be able to keep up with developers and customers with Internet training and technical help, according to Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight64.

"When IDF started (in 1997) things were changing rapidly in the industry, and the two shows per year [in the U.S.] made sense. For the past few years, the pace of new technology introductions has slowed," he said.

The he company expects 4,500 core attendees at this week’s Beijing event. The San Francisco IDF is scheduled for 18 and 19 September, while the Taipei event is scheduled for 15 and 16 October.

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