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While "Intel" (Cover Story, Oct. 15) brought up some good examples of how Intel Corp. has failed to achieve its objectives, I don't understand your comparison between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Intel has driven many of the standards in desktop PCs, notebooks, and servers, and the company is doing the same in networking, PDAs, wireless, the Internet, telephony, broadband, digital TV and photography, and the integration of many of these technologies. Intel has taken on tremendous risks but has also reaped the rewards of many of these risks.
AMD, by contrast, develops me-too, copycat products, then sells them at any price that will move them. Intel creates value in a variety of markets. AMD sucks value from the markets it enters.
Surely Intel could have learned from the example of many companies that have strayed from their core competencies and failed miserably. Intel is not nimble, and competing in new markets is an enormous challenge to a company accustomed to being the only choice in a market. Intel must concentrate on what it knows best: making the best microprocessors. It should adhere to the plan to automate to reduce manufacturing costs by 50%, regain its leadership position, and maintain a commitment to just one of the new markets, wireless communications, where demand will continue to explode worldwide.
Erik L. Johansson
West Hartford, Conn. "The roots of resentment" (Special Report, Oct. 1) hints that Canada is among the nations that "hate" America. The protests that took place in Quebec in May, 2001, were directed at globalization, not at the U.S. Canada and its people of all provinces remain true friends to the U.S., particularly in these difficult times.
Montreal Your statement that "Japanese civilians were interned during World War II" is misleading ("Security vs. civil liberties," Special Report, Oct. 1). The people interned were Americans, not Japanese. Americans of Japanese descent were sent to internment camps solely on the basis of their ancestry.
Los Angeles In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, some irresponsible groups have been questioning the security at the nation's nuclear power plants ("The nuclear nightmare just got more real," Special Report, Oct. 1). Nuclear power plants were among the most secure industrial facilities in the U.S. before [the attacks], and they are even safer today. At each plant, robust steel and concrete structures surround the reactor, one of several barriers that protect the reactor fuel. In addition, expertly trained security forces maintain high levels of security against terrorism around the clock. The chance that a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility would result in a large release of radioactive material is extremely low.
Even before September 11, the industry was taking steps to strengthen security. This month, the industry--with full U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversight--began a pilot program to enhance the effectiveness and comprehensive nature of our security program evaluations.
The industry's security program has demonstrated its effectiveness in repelling mock ground-based terrorist attacks, and the industry works with local, state and federal authorities to ensure that public health and safety is protected.
Chief Nuclear Officer
Nuclear Energy Institute
Washington As a 34-year veteran of U.S. Steel here in Alabama, it was encouraging to see CEO Thomas Usher come out so well ("Secrets of the truly shameless," BusinessWeek Investor, Oct. 1). We have heard that our "merit" raises this year would be on an "emergency" basis only, due to poor business conditions. (And I was hoping to get the whole 3% this year.)
Hueytown, Ala. I find it offensive that in one of the worst stock-market years in history, Toddi Gutner lambastes the Chicks Laying Nest Eggs investment club portfolio over the short term ("Chicks' picks come home to roost," BusinessWeek Investor, Oct. 8). We consider AOL Time Warner Inc. part of the whole big picture--and [buy] it as a tie-breaker when we are undecided between two companies. We chose not to sell Gap Inc. because we believe in their fundamentals.
As for our tech-heavy portfolio, the companies we own have a lot of cash, great margins, and will be around for a long time. They are solid companies in a down market. We would buy them again tomorrow.
St. Mary's Point, Minn.