Case | HBS Case Collection | August 2009 (Revised August 2009)

Intel NBI: Radio-Frequency Identification

by Willy C. Shih and Thomas Thurston

Abstract

The Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) group was a start-up that was part of Intel's New Business Initiatives. It sought initially to develop and sell a high performance Rf fast read rate module targeted at fixed position readers that might be found in loading docks or applications that demanded fast read speeds in demanding applications. When it was first funded, Intel was in the midst of record growth and was seeking diversification. The new business was viewed as synergistic with Intel's Infrastructure Processor Division (IPD) and its XScale processor business. But as the parent company faced slowing growth and financial challenges, it sold off its XScale unit, leaving RFID with no clear "destination." With the venture's future called into question, the unit manager was faced with the challenge of managing a business with a good technology and customer order book but no place to "fit" within the parent corporation. This case complements 609-043, "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (A)," and 609-102, "Intel NBI: Intel Corporation's New Business Initiatives (B)." It is one of the failed ventures cited in those cases.

Keywords: Business Startups; Corporate Entrepreneurship; Organizational Structure; Failure; Diversification; Integration; Semiconductor Industry;

Citation:

Shih, Willy C., and Thomas Thurston. "Intel NBI: Radio-Frequency Identification." Harvard Business School Case 610-027, August 2009. (Revised August 2009.)