INTEL WOULD LIKE to set the record straight on USB 3.0, as apparently, we in the tech press are not being fair in our coverage of the issue.
Intel’s friendly PR, Nick Knupffer, has been busy spinning away, coming up with a load of old excuses (less politely, we might call it ‘arse covering’) and waffle about how in no way whatsoever is Intel, in any way, trying to advertently, or inadvertently, screw the industry. And godamn it, if the company is screwing the industry, well, it jolly well wants to look good while it's at it.
The company admits that there are, indeed, two separate standards being developed for USB 3.0. One by Intel and its band of merry (or not so merry) promoters (HP, the Vole, NEC, NXP and TI). And the other a “host controller spec”, which Intel is developing on its own. However, Knupffer vehemently denies that the company is trying to develop the USB 3.0 specification itself or keep it from the rest of the industry.
As we reported several times over the past couple of months, this explanation doesn’t really wash because, as much as Intel wants to play the 'good guy', or even just the 'fair guy', the company is really just talking out of its… erm… hat.
Intel says that it is sitting on the host spec until it is 100 per cent ready before giving it out, to save other companies the time, effort and money. Awww, sweet. But not particularly plausible.
Intel is holding its hands up in the air and shaking its head whilst muttering 'compatibility, compatibility', but at the same time, it is also telling companies that if they don’t particularly feel like sitting on their hands and waiting for Intel’s spec, they can just reverse engineer the product themselves. User compatibility be damned.
Sure, Intel will share... it will share with those companies it sees as making add ons and devices that will work with the technology Intel is sitting on, but it will absolutely not let its competitors get a whiff of the spec for at least another six months or so.
Some, like our friend Nick, for instance, might think this is fair, as it is Intel which has invested (in Nick’s own words) “gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours” into developing the spec. But if Intel sits on the controller spec for at least another six months, it is inevitable that the spec will fork as the competition get restless, resulting in end users having to deal with a right old mess of having to have two sets of drivers on their PC, incompatible devices and problems similar to those which occurred way back with USB 1.0. Intel trying to pretend otherwise is just arrogance.
Knupffer’s marticle (marketing article), also tries to deny that USB 3.0 heavily borrows its technology from PCI Special Interests group. But that, we are sorry to say, is complete codswallop. USB 3.0 is about 95 per cent PCIe over cable. Our sources tell us that Intel added the additional 5 per cent of the work to it, mainly by putting it over an external cable, and changing the spec around slightly, but 95 per cent is 95 per cent. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck, no matter how many times Intel tells you it's a swan.
Of course, at the end of the day, actions will speak for themselves, and as lily white and pure as Intel wants to present itself, it may well have to suffer the wrath of the hordes of frustrated endusers, wanting to stick their shiny new incompatible USB 3.0 leads up Intel’s… [Quite enough of that now - Ed]. µ
Nick Knupffer’s spin doc
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