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Intel Kills IDF, Will Shift To More Focused Events

Intel has quiety killed off the Intel Developers Forum (IDF), the annual dev conference it’s been running for almost 20 years. This is not in and of itself all that significant, but it does signal a shift in how Intel thinks of itself, the developers who rely on Intel products, and those of us in the media who cover it all.

In a post, Intel stated the following:

Intel has evolved its event portfolio and decided to retire the IDF program moving forward. Thank you for nearly 20 great years with the Intel Developer Forum! Intel has a number of resources available on intel.com, including a Resource and Design Center with documentation, software, and tools for designers, engineers, and developers. As always, our customers, partners, and developers should reach out to their Intel representative with questions.

An Intel representative spoke with Tom’s Hardware and pointed to the company’s evolving and growing portfolio of technologies as the reason why it’s changing course with its events. Intel is not longer just chipzilla, even though PC processors are still core to its business. It’s also focused on the data center, autonomous cars, 5G, and--more recently--virtual reality. Simply put, the three-day IDF event has become simultaneously too unwieldy and too unfocused to properly serve its role.

This is a little “inside baseball,” but: For those of us who have sat through epic, bladder-busting IDF keynotes full of quick-hit mentions of numerous products and topics, half of which our respective publications don’t cover, this is likely a welcome change. (We presume the same is true for developers.)

Intel indicated to us that instead of IDF, we’ll be seeing more events, but with each event having a more concentrated focus. The only potential downside is that we may end up having to attend more events, which means more travel, but at least we should all be getting more bang for our buck, as it were.

What that will actually look like is still undecided, from what we gleaned from our conversation with Intel. For example, we expect that those of us who cover the PC enthusiast market will see a more PC-focused event (CPUs, Intel Optane, etc.), but we don’t believe Intel has made any solid plans just yet. We wonder if Intel might lump in its XR initiatives into such an event, or if it might split that off, too. After all, although Intel is now heavily involved in the XR HMD market, its VR focus is largely around things like VR broadcasting and events, as well as new technologies such as volumetric video.

In any case, we expect to learn more over the summer. For now, we politely doff our caps in remembrance of IDF.

  • bit_user
    semiaccurate has a far less charitable take on this decision:

    http://semiaccurate.com/2017/04/17/intel-mercy-kills-idf/

    I know Tom's has to toe the line or risk being blacklisted by Intel, but I think SA's interpretation much more closely matches the squeeze that Intel has clearly been putting on all sorts of technical details for both press and developers.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    19577474 said:
    semiaccurate has a far less charitable take on this decision:

    http://semiaccurate.com/2017/04/17/intel-mercy-kills-idf/

    I know Tom's has to toe the line or risk being blacklisted by Intel, but I think SA's interpretation much more closely matches the squeeze that Intel has clearly been putting on all sorts of technical details for both press and developers.

    Wait what? Who says we need to toe any lines with anyone? I don't understand that part of your comment.

    In any case, I thoroughly enjoy Charlie in person and in print. And I'm not disputing anything he said, but he leveled some pretty severe accusations there. I'm sure he can back some or most of it up at least anecdotally, but...jeepers.

    Also, Intel is by no means alone in withholding important information at briefings. For that matter, we increasingly see the same problem in press releases. Anymore, we're always bugging companies for information they used to readily include--specs (or full specs), pricing, availability, etc. It's kind of an industry-wide problem, frankly. (Personally, I'm on at least a couple of "that guy is annoying" lists for...asking questions about products I'm being shown or briefed on.)
    Reply
  • tomsyopmail
    As bad a microsoft was (they are a predator, make no mistake) whenever in the past they didn't feel threatened by anyone, they did the right thing. Now the right thing doesn't even enter into the thought process of this inhuman corporation regardless of the good will they might endear otherwise.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    19577591 said:
    Wait what? Who says we need to toe any lines with anyone? I don't understand that part of your comment.
    Look at SA's article and then read yours. You guys mentioned none of the grievances cited by SA (whom I recognize is quite biased, FWIW, but I still think they're citing real issues). Your article seems to completely accept Intel PR's spin around this. Is SA even correct about attendance dropping? That would be a pretty noteworthy & telling detail. You could also try interviewing a few former attendees. I'm just saying it'd be possible to at least look at this from their angle and see whether it's supportable.

    So, while I do apologize for being quite so nakedly cynical, perhaps you can at least see my reasoning.

    19577591 said:
    (Personally, I'm on at least a couple of "that guy is annoying" lists for...asking questions about products I'm being shown or briefed on.)
    And I thank you for your efforts. Even assuming you did have to temper your criticism of certain industry behemoths, I wouldn't consider it an unreasonable tradeoff for the reporting it enables you to do.

    I also appreciate the quality of editing & authorship you guys put into your articles. Sometimes, SA gets on quite a screed and I basically end up skimming huge chunks. And that's just of what I can see on this side of their pay wall.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    19577741 said:
    As bad a microsoft was (they are a predator, make no mistake) whenever in the past they didn't feel threatened by anyone, they did the right thing.
    You mean in terms of developer communications? If so, I won't try to dispute that, but they've had a long history of anti-competitive practices that flourished even during their boom years.

    As far as it concerns developers, I don't know if the term "embrace and extend" was actually coined by Microsoft, but that's sure the context in which I learned about it.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    19577965 said:
    19577591 said:
    Wait what? Who says we need to toe any lines with anyone? I don't understand that part of your comment.
    Look at SA's article and then read yours. You guys mentioned none of the grievances cited by SA (whom I recognize is quite biased, FWIW, but I still think they're citing real issues). Your article seems to completely accept Intel PR's spin around this. Is SA even correct about attendance dropping? That would be a pretty noteworthy & telling detail. You could also try interviewing a few former attendees. I'm just saying it'd be possible to at least look at this from their angle and see whether it's supportable.

    So, while I do apologize for being quite so nakedly cynical, perhaps you can at least see my reasoning.

    19577591 said:
    (Personally, I'm on at least a couple of "that guy is annoying" lists for...asking questions about products I'm being shown or briefed on.)
    And I thank you for your efforts. Even assuming you did have to temper your criticism of certain industry behemoths, I wouldn't consider it an unreasonable tradeoff for the reporting it enables you to do.

    I also appreciate the quality of editing & authorship you guys put into your articles. Sometimes, SA gets on quite a screed and I basically end up skimming huge chunks. And that's just of what I can see on this side of their pay wall.

    No apologies necessary, of course.

    I'm not sure that those grievances are pertinent to this piece of news. Not everything has to be a big conspiracy. Was attendance dropping? Maybe. So what? If I was running a tradeshow and attendance was dropping, I would change tactics. Which is what Intel is doing. That's just common sense. And as I mentioned, I think it makes sense to change things up regarding IDF. I wrote: "Simply put, the three-day IDF event has become simultaneously too unwieldy and too unfocused to properly serve its role."

    It seems his primary complaint is the poor communication and lack of details. But that's entirely an institutional problem that won't be solved by keeping IDF or not keeping IDF. So...I fail to see how it's pertinent to this piece of news?

    Charlie is right, though, that there has been a dearth of details at many of these events. In fact, if I'm remembering the year correctly, it was indeed 2015 when he and I (and an Intel rep) ended up talking about that very thing at IDF that he seems most angry about, after a briefing that didn't have a lot of details.

    But that's not exclusively an Intel problem, that's an industry-wide problem. So, again...I'm not sure how his complaints have all that much to do with Intel or IDF, specifically. (Further, airing grievances is just not our editorial style. I don't think it serves readers very well, generally speaking.)

    Also--WE are former attendees. :P
    Reply
  • scolaner
    19577474 said:
    I know Tom's has to toe the line or risk being blacklisted by Intel, but I think SA's interpretation much more closely matches the squeeze that Intel has clearly been putting on all sorts of technical details for both press and developers.

    Just want to quickly address this separately and be SUUUUPER clear: As editors and writers, we don't need to toe any lines for any company, ever. Our job is to serve the readers, period.
    Reply
  • scolaner
    And I thank you for your efforts. Even assuming you did have to temper your criticism of certain industry behemoths, I wouldn't consider it an unreasonable tradeoff for the reporting it enables you to do.

    I also appreciate the quality of editing & authorship you guys put into your articles.
    Thanks for saying that--we work very hard at producing quality content. :) It's not a tradeoff, though--we criticize where we feel it's appropriate and fair and beneficial to readers.

    Thanks for your always insightful and expert comments!
    Reply
  • SockPuppet
    I'm just wondering when the hell Charlie Demerjian earned any sort of credibility? He's been widely regarded as a joke for as long as I can remember. It seems half the time he's playing some "AMD fanboy turned reporter" character kind of like Steven Colbert and politics.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    19579851 said:
    I'm just wondering when the hell Charlie Demerjian earned any sort of credibility? He's been widely regarded as a joke for as long as I can remember. It seems half the time he's playing some "AMD fanboy turned reporter" character kind of like Steven Colbert and politics.
    Well, it's all down to the information he outs that nobody else seems to get, in quite the depth or detail.

    Before they put up the paywall, it was a place developers and engineers could get a level of in-depth technical details you wouldn't find on other tech news websites. Combine that with the access they have to truly insider information, and you get a result that makes it worth putting up with all the opinion, lack of disciplined authorship, hit-or-miss humor (usually miss), and poor/non-existent editing.

    I see it a bit like a blog, and a bit like talking to your uncle. In part, the bias feels like less of an issue, because it's so obvious. Even so, I think they pay credit to Intel and Nvidia when it's truly due.
    Reply