The co-founder and former chairman of Intel Corporation, Gordon Earl Moore, is dead. The “accidental entrepreneur” who invested only $500 to buy into Intel at its initial stage died at 94 in his Hawaiian home on Friday. Moore was known as the proponent of Moore’s Law when he predicted that microprocessors would revolutionize the computer world through mass production.
A semiconductor company based in California, Intel Corporation was initially known as Integrated Electronics Corporation before the switch of the name. Moore co-founded Intel with Robert Noyce in 1968 after they left their employment at Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. With an initial investment of $2.5 million (about $22 million today), Moore and Noyce started their company and employed their first employee, a Hungarian immigrant named Andrew Grove.
Moore was CEO of Intel from 1975 to 1987 and Grove took over from him and became chairman until 1997. A billionaire who lived a very simple life and wore simple clothes, Moore and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2001 and invested a donation of 175 million Intel shares. They also gave $600 million to the California Institute of Technology.
Moore said he was actually lucky that his Moore’s Law worked out to make computer chips more affordable and abundant today. “What I could see was that semiconductor devices were the way electronics were going to become cheap. That was the message I was trying to get across,” he said in 2000. “It turned out to be an amazingly precise prediction — a lot more precise than I ever imagined it would be.”
Moore was born on January 3, 1929, in the town of Pescadero in San Francisco. His father, Walter, was the deputy sheriff, and his mother, Florence Almira, operated the main store in the town. He attended San Jose State College, where he met Betty Whitaker, whom he married in 1950.
More also attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied chemistry. He got a doctorate in chemistry from Caltech in 1954 before working briefly with the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He also worked at Bell Laboratories under William Shockley in 1956 before leaving in 1957 to join Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation.
Moore left behind his wife and two sons – Kenneth and Steven – and four grandchildren. In 2017, Forbes estimated his net worth at $7 billion.