Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, a pioneer of the semiconductor industry whose “Moore’s Law” predicted a steady increase in computing power for decades, died on Friday at the age of 94, the company announced.
Intel ( and Moore’s family philanthropic foundation said he died surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii. )
Launching Intel in 1968, Moore was the roll-up-sleeves engineer in a triumvirate of technology luminaries that eventually put “Intel Inside”[ads1]; processors in more than 80% of the world’s personal computers.
In a paper he wrote in 1965, Moore observed that, thanks to improvements in technology, the number of transistors on microchips had roughly doubled every year since integrated circuits had been invented a few years before.
His prediction that the trend would continue became known as “Moore’s Law”, and later changed to every two years, it helped push Intel and rival chipmakers to aggressively target their research and development resources to ensure that the rule of thumb came true.
“Integrated circuits will lead to such marvels as home computers – or at least terminals connected to a central computer – automatic controls for cars, and personal portable communications equipment,” Moore wrote in his paper, two decades before the PC revolution and more than 40 years before Apple launched the iPhone.
After Moore’s paper, the chips became more efficient and cheaper at an exponential rate, helping to drive much of the world’s technological progress for half a century and allowing the rise of not just personal computers, but the Internet and Silicon Valley giants like apple (, )Facebook ( and )Google (. )
“It sure is nice to be in the right place at the right time,” Moore said in an interview around 2005. “I was very fortunate to get into the semiconductor industry in its infancy. And I had an opportunity to grow from that time where we couldn’t make a single silicon transistor until the time we put 1.7 billion of them on one chip! It’s been a phenomenal ride.”
In recent years, Intel rivals such as Nvidia ( have argued that Moore’s Law no longer applies as improvements in chip manufacturing have slowed. )
But despite manufacturing stumbles that have seen Intel lose market share in recent years, current CEO Pat Gelsinger has said he believes Moore’s Law still applies as the company invests billions of dollars in a turnaround.
Although he predicted the PC movement, Moore told Forbes magazine that he did not buy a home computer himself until the late 1980s.
A native of San Francisco, Moore earned a Ph.D. in chemistry and physics in 1954 at the California Institute of Technology.
He went to work at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory where he met future Intel co-founder Robert Noyce. Part of the “Treacherous Eight”, they left in 1957 to launch Fairchild Semiconductor. In 1968, Moore and Noyce left Fairchild to start the memory chip company that would soon be called Intel, short for Integrated Electronics.
Moore and Noyce’s first hire was another Fairchild colleague, Andy Grove, who would lead Intel through much of its explosive growth in the 1980s and 1990s.
Moore described himself to Fortune magazine as an “accidental entrepreneur” who had no burning desire to start a company – but he, Noyce and Grove formed a powerhouse partnership.
While Noyce had theories about how to solve chip engineering problems, Moore was the person who rolled up his sleeves and spent countless hours fine-tuning transistors and refining Noyce’s broad and sometimes ill-defined ideas, efforts that often paid off. Grove filled out the group as Intel’s operations and management expert.
Moore’s obvious talent also inspired other engineers who worked for him, and under his and Noyce’s leadership, Intel invented the microprocessors that would pave the way for the personal computer revolution.
He was executive president until 1975, although he and CEO Noyce considered themselves equals. From 1979 to 1987, Moore was chairman and CEO, and he remained chairman until 1997.
In 2023, Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at $7.2 billion.
A longtime angler, Moore pursued his passion around the world, and in 2000 he and his wife Betty started a foundation focused on environmental causes. The foundation, which took on projects such as protecting the Amazon basin and salmon streams in the United States, Canada and Russia, was funded by Moore’s donation of about $5 billion in Intel stock.
He also gave hundreds of millions to his alma mater, the California Institute of Technology, to keep it at the forefront of technology and science, supporting the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project known as SETI.
Moore received a Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President George W. Bush in 2002. He and his wife had two children.