“For 40 of those years, a timespan that saw computing go from curiosity to ubiquity, Paul Otellini has been at Intel. He’s been CEO of the company for the last eight years, but close to the levers of power since he became then-CEO Andy Grove’s de facto chief of staff in 1989.,” Alexis C. Madrigal reports for The Atlantic. “Today is Otellini’s last day at Intel. As soon as he steps down at a company shareholder meeting, Brian Krzanich, who has been with the company since 1982, will move up from COO to become Intel’s sixth CEO.”

“In the last full year before he ascended to chief executive, Intel generated $34 billion in sales. By 2012, that number had grown to $53 billion,” Madrigal reports. “But, oh, what could have been! Even Otellini betrayed a profound sense of disappointment over a decision he made about a then-unreleased product that became the iPhone. Shortly after winning Apple’s Mac business, he decided against doing what it took to be the chip in Apple’s paradigm-shifting product.”

Madrigal reports, “‘We ended up not winning it or passing on it, depending on how you want to view it. And the world would have been a lot different if we’d done it,’ Otellini told me in a two-hour conversation during his last month at Intel. ‘The thing you have to remember is that this was before the iPhone was introduced and no one knew what the iPhone would do… At the end of the day, there was a chip that they were interested in that they wanted to pay a certain price for and not a nickel more and that price was below our forecasted cost. I couldn’t see it. It wasn’t one of these things you can make up on volume. And in hindsight, the forecasted cost was wrong and the volume was 100x what anyone thought.’ It was the only moment I heard regret slip into Otellini’s voice during the several hours of conversations I had with him. ‘The lesson I took away from that was, while we like to speak with data around here, so many times in my career I’ve ended up making decisions with my gut, and I should have followed my gut,’ he said. ‘My gut told me to say yes.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ouch!

That decision has to be close to the top of the list of Biggest Business Mistakes in History.