Intel has in the past been accused by name-brand PC makers like Compaq, for effectively presenting clone brands with ready-made products that deter system-level differentiation. McKinnon denied that the move is cover for fire from large customers dismayed by Intel's increasing stranglehold on PC development. "It's not a reaction to anybody," he said. "It's a desire to push enabling technology forward."
Despite the undoubted success Intel has had in establishing itself as a leading motherboard maker, rivals question whether the business is profitable. "Intel's motherboard business has been a bit of a joke," said Cyrix regional manager for central Europe, Paul Norman. "As a CPU maker, you need the knowledge of what it takes to build the motherboard, but if you want to make a profit how can you build it cheaper than a Chinese company? You're better off leaving it to our friends in South-East Asia."
Norman noted that Intel has been keen to break out of its core business in order to build a broad product line but has met with limited success. "They've been in and out of MPEG, Flash and networks," he said.
PCDN Comment: This is the latest move to enforce the Wintel industry duopoly. With the Universal Serial Bus (USB) peripheral interconnect initiative and Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) fast graphics standard next in line, there won't be many PC components that aren't heavily impacted by what Intel and Microsoft think they should look like.