- Intel recalled the Pentium P5 chip in 1995 that produced errors for certain calculations.
- The recalled chips were turned into keychains for Intel employees.
- The keychains had an inscription from former Intel CEO Andy Grove that became the company’s mantra, and also applies to Intel’s current chip crisis.
If Intel has a calendar that counted the time since its last disaster — at least public ones we know about — it would have counted 24 years.
Back in 1994, a bug was discovered in the Pentium P5 family of chips Intel released in 1993 that would cause the chips to incorrectly calculate certain equations. Most users weren’t impacted by the bug. But a New York Times Business Day article from 1994 suggested that scientists and engineers who “rely on their machines for precise calculations” had some reason for concern.
In the end, Intel recalled nearly a million of the flawed chips. But instead of trashing or recycling them, the company turned some of them into keychains that were handed out to Intel employees in 1995, according to a site that specializes in vintage chip memorabilia, ChipsEtc.
You might be thinking that the keychains were designed to remind Intel employees of the errors made during the Pentium P5’s development whenever they took out their car or house keys. But it wasn’t quite as hard-hearted as that.
Inscribed on the back of the keychain was an inspirational message from then-Intel CEO Andy Grove that read:
“Bad companies are destroyed by crises; good companies survive them; great companies are improved by them.”