Intel’s manipulating ways?

It is hard to teach old dog new tricks! And Intel is living proof of that. Wi-Fi and Wi-Max are open standards, which have been embraced by one and all. Which makes them a tough nut to crack from an economic standpoint. I call it being in the clutches of Moore’s Claw. (Read More….)

Intel has spent almost $250 million on promoting (and sometimes falsely) Wi-Fi as the next digital nirvana, but has failed to turn into a profit-and-loss statement. It is caught in a bitter price war with the likes of Broadcom, which is out innovating the chipzilla.Intel knows how to make money by controlling the standards and by being a monopoly. (Clearly it has a better public relations staff than Microsoft and as a result has skirted the attention of US Justice Department. Or is it more generous with its political largesse!) It has failed when it has gone up head to head against a more nimble and smarter rival. So perhaps that explains why the company is trying to manipulate the Wi-Max and to some extent Wi-Fi standards. Take this news item as an example.

At an analyst meeting last week, Intel President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini disclosed plans to include the capability of a wireless access point in a forthcoming chipset. The chipset is the lesser-known, but critically important, assistant to the microprocessor, the brain of a computer. When Intel chipset, which is code-named Grantsdale, is released in the first half of next year, buyers of high-end computers using Intel’s Pentium 4 chips will no longer need to fuss with installing a separate wireless access point.

This is kiss of death to some independent wireless hub and gateway makers. However, to me it seems that having failed to participate in the Wi-Fi chip business the company has figured that it could leverage its control of the chipset business to become a player. This is an evolving strategy.

Intel’s push into Wi-Max is a way to manipulate standards as well. As one reader puts it “Wi-Max is an artificial standards manipulation by Intel to separate the indoor and outdoor applications of Wi-Fi in order to gain greater control of the second generation of wireless standards than they had over the last generation.” This announcement clearly says it all. Ed Sutherland has a nice piece in the Wi-FI Planet, but he does not land a punch with its full force. Many of Intel’s supporters in the WiMax effort are the linkes of Navini Networks, which lo and behold has been funded by Intel Capital. More on this stuff in coming weeks. Stay tuned!