Intel’s Q2 2022 earnings report today was uncharacteristically sad, but it also hid a new announcement: Intel is shutting down its Optane memory business entirely. During the earnings call, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger clarified a vaguely worded announcement in the earnings filing, confirming that Intel will stop its Optane business. This move will entail depreciation/write-off of assets of $559 million.
Gelsinger said this is the sixth non-core business Intel has divested since he took over, including the recent sale of its drone business to Elon Musk’s brother and the sale of its solid-state drive (SSD) business to SK hynix, which raised $1.5 billion to invest in industries that are the core of Intel’s business.
The company has already stopped making Optane drives for consumer PCs, which makes sense since the NAND memory business was sold to SK hynix. Initially, however, Intel kept the memory business for data centers, including non-volatile memory DIMMs, which can function as an add-on to main memory – a capability offered only by Intel. These products will now also come to an end.
Gelsinger cited the industry’s shift to CXL-based architectures as the reason for the Optane business winding down, reflecting the sentiment of former Intel Optane partner Micron when it went out of business last year. Micron was the sole manufacturer of 3D XPoint, the memory Intel uses to build Optane, and the company later sold its 3D XPoint factory to Texas Instruments, leaving it with no manufacturing capacity of its own.