A user rarely needs this much precision but if the calculations are being used in the scientific calculations it would have yielded wrong results. This should be kept in mind that only the processors of speed less than 120Mhz were facing the issue and in most of the scientific research, processors greater than 400Mhz were being used at that time. So for a common user, the problem was not a big deal, it was just the thing that competitors created a hype of that issue and presented to a local customer.
It was like a hit and trial method used by INTEL in a sense of which approach would work initially. It was claimed by several Tech Giant that Intel already knew about the bug and they thought that it would go unnoticed. But it came into the limelight and then Intel started hitting the customers with certain methods to tackle them starting from the cheapest so that company has to face less and less in terms of reputation as well as market share.
In 1994 Thomas, after finding the bug informed Intel about his finding of the error in calculations in floating-point units, underhand. The chip-makers told Thomas tearlierhat they already knew about the error but they hide it instead of making it a public announcement.
Thomas wrote a note on his website stating that Intel seemed unprepared for such a bug and it was a mistake not to publicize their flawed findings.
He also raised a question that the other Tech giants that were Intel’s customers were not informed of the flaw by Intel, it was so baffling.
This was the very first hidden stance by Intel. If we analyze it we may see that it was mishandling of the issue that could have hurt the potential of the company. The mass production of the flawed chips was a thing of major concern if they already knew the flaws in certain chips.
The second stance was just a verbal stance trying to present their opinion as facts that the bug is very minute and a normal PC user will never be its victim because as stated earlier in 1.3.1 it would only affect a user once after every 27,000 years stating that one would never face it. But IBM (A Tough competitor at that time) claimed that this finding is wrong as it would affect after every 27 days. The market’s mindset went for IBM’s claim and Intel failed to be with their first stance after heavy criticism.
If we analyze this approach critically we would notice that Intel this Approach was taken by Intel to show that they were a real Tech Giant and they can never produce such processors having so big bugs. This Approach was an offensive approach towards their competitors and did not accept their mistakes in general. It was a market strategy trying to defend its name in the World.
The matter then appeared in the press on November 7, 1994, in an article in Electronic Engineering Times by Alexander Wolfe. The story then was also picked by CNN after a few days. Intel took a stance that for those who could prove those their processors are having problems, Intel would replace those. This stance was highly discouraged and they had to face a lot more trouble as IBM joined the condemnation because IBM’s 5x86C microprocessor competed with Intel’s Pentium V processors.
This Approach was a sign of pride Intel had. The pride was grounded because IBM left no space for the flawed processors to exist in the market, so there was an outcry in the tech market. Intel had to be down to earth and come up with a humble apologetic approach to save its name.
As Intel realized that their approaches failed to convince the users and it would now affect their company in long run. So they had to come up with a defensive strategy, an apologetic approach to be more precise. Now it was a need of time to take some big steps to recover its reputation. For the instance, Affected processors were identified on a public level. The processors with a speed of less than 120MHz were having such bugs. The ten processors listed below were first pointed out as affected processors.
As mentioned in 1.4 a user at that time could easily verify too from certain ways as well as the owners of these above-mentioned processors.
Intel then decided to replace all the processors with flaws on request as a result of pressure that was mounting on them by the public and media.
One thing to notice here is that most common users didn’t face errors as it was after the 4th decimal of figures, the outcry in the market was because of:
To capture the market and tackle their top competitor Intel, they raised this hype.
To get high ratings as it was the hot topic of that time.
Though they were affected they could have been tackled by Intel’s third approach. But as Thomas said earlier that this issue was mishandled in the first approach too, In the third approach they could have tackled all this, by hitting only the affected majority, But yet again it was the failure of Intel and as a result, they had to come up with forth approach.
After the outcry in the market and bad reputation, the Future of Intel was at great risk. Intel took the following steps onward to defend its name and restore what it lost as a name of the trust.
As Intel had to face failures in the initial approaches, it had to face a lot of decline in the market value. Though it cost them 420 million in the first place in replacing the chips as of their last approach, it also cost bought a bad name to the company.
Intel refused to answer how man affected computers it sold so an exact approach to revenue generated from flawed Pentium is hard. But by simple statistics, it can be found out. Intel was selling almost 10% of the world’s PCs, By this, it can be concluded that roughly 5 to 6 million units were sold by Intel at that time. To be precise the company took a charge of $475M to replace the chips