Optane and other Nascent technologies are risky and high cost during market adoption. I also fear all legitimate competitors are waiting till after Intel has created/established that market (the in-between DRAM and storage, some call Memory class storage). Then all capable competitors will join in the lucrative emerging memory market and Intels margins will further decrease. This new established market will also no longer beholden to Intel (See actual rise of ARM and our competent AMD competition).
On the competition front, Micron's one vapor product (X100) isn't even on the market likely due to non-existent margins and how much power draw it needs(Very slapped together). Micron will surely bring a 3rd gen tier to an established market that has healthy margins. Hynix has released multiple papers about a first gen OTS+GST device which mirrors Intel and Microns first effort years ago, they are active and quiet. Not as quiet as Samsung who has been completely mum (Except garbage SLC ZNAND product which has a place but does not directly compete). Meanwhile Kioxia/Toshiba has mocked all efforts and doesn't appear to be in this race anymore(At least on this type of emerging memory).
Intel is wise to keep it for now, First of all, no one will pay back what Intel has put in for this tech. Additionally there is a lot of potential leverage and advantage this technology brings to both server and consumer space. Memory is quickly growing to be a larger percentage of the build for a system where many workloads require 32GB of ram and some are finding the need for more (64GB+) . Optane contains good enough memory performance for price to curtail part of the dram market, and even a sliver of percent should ensure its success (DRAM is a $46+ Billion/year business).
For Intel to succeed in Optane it needs to out innovate both on the media, the hardware implementation, and the software adoption needs to be present for it to be utilized. I have full confidence on the middle piece only, I think the competition is much more nimble on the underlying media especially with Micron partner removed and Intel attempting to do the impossible in an aging fab/workforce/systems with all the challenges that exist there. The software adoption will happen as finances dictate it and has been a slow ongoing effort for the last 3 years. According to some Optane is actually profitable, but it still has a long road to get in to the green if one considers all initial investments. https://blocksandfiles.com/2020/09/07/intels-optane-breakeven-point/
As for Alper, I will be rooting for him and wish him good fortune as the odds are stacked against him, an upset would be a wonder to behold.