Could Intel win in Tablet and Smartphones by offering protection in the patent wars?

Could Intel win in Tablet and Smartphones by offering protection in the patent wars?

Summary: Cross-technology licensing by large companies helped establish the PC platform and protect innovation. Could Intel do the same for tablets and smartphones?


Brooke Crothers, at CNET, reports that Intel is stepping in to help manufacturers create ultrabooks, and it has a $300 million fund to help integrate key technologies such as touch interfaces and battery technologies.


With the goal of getting smaller PC makers to supply branded ultrabooks, Intel will hold a meeting Wednesday in Taipei as a "matchmaker" between large device manufacturers--so-called ODMs or original design manufacturers--like Foxconn, Pegatron, Compal, and Quanta and smaller brands, according to an industry source familiar with Intel's plans.

The list of prospective ultrabook brands will include companies like Epson, Onkyo, Viewsonic, Mustek, Motion Computing, WiPro, and Positivo, according to the source. While some brands, like WiPro and Positivo, are not well known, they are big players in regional markets.

Intel's help will be welcomed by smaller manufacturers and it's clearly in Intel's interest because it wants to make sure it can sell its Ivy Bridge chipset.

Intel's role as an accelerator of key technologies and products dates back to the early days of the PC.

However, as Intel tries to establish itself in the hot Tablet and cell phone markets, against the dominant ARM based chips, it has an opportunity to fulfill an important role, one which helped the PC industry move forward at a rapid rate -- protection from patent wars.

A key factor in the success of the PC platform was a determination by Intel to stop patent battles because it knew this would harm the development of the PC standard. Intel engaged in many cross-technology license agreements, and also encouraged large manufacturers to do the same.

This allowed many smaller companies to innovate without fear of antagonizing patent holders of basic PC platform technologies.

This type of cross-licensing is sorely needed in Tablet and cell phone markets where large companies are claiming patent violations against each other, and small developers are caught in the crossfire -- slowing innovation in one of the fastest growing markets.

If Intel could offer a similar level of protection to developers working on Intel platform based Tablets and cell phones, it would be a great way to recruit developers away from the ARM-based sector, where they risk being stomped by larger companies.

This could become the key to Intel's success in competing against ARM.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Legal, Mobility, Tablets

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  • This first post is empty because the damn comments system does not allow ..

    ... me to enter an actual comment right here -- it hides it. But somehow I can add it as an reply to this first useless comment.
    • How Intel is supposed to protect anyone in tablet and smartphones business?

      The company, unlike others, does not have that much patents in this field to protect anyone.<br><br>For example, Apple and Nokia entered cross-licensing agreement last summer, where Apple got license for Nokia's communication patents, and Nokia got license for some UI-based patents, such as unique UI scrolling behaviour.<br><br>But what Intel can offer? MeeGo patents? No, since it is open development project. What else?<br><br>Or do you mean that Intel would impose on itself legal and financial responsibility for their partners if any third party would sue them?<br><br>Even though Intel wants to break-in to smartphones and tablet business very badly, they could hardly ever enter such agreements.<br><br>[b]By entering this business, Google already lost $12 billion[/b], which they had to spent on Motorola in a rapid attempt to enforce its patent portfolio in this area. So Intel might face similar level of losses.
      • RE: Could Intel win in Tablet and Smartphones by offering protection in the patent wars?


        Wait, how has Google lost $12 billion? Do you mean the price they paid for Motorola? Because that company didn't magically disappear after they bought it...
      • RE: Could Intel win in Tablet and Smartphones by offering protection in the patent wars?


        Deleted - why bother
      • The company did not disappear, but $12 billion of hard (or not so hard) ..

        @Dodgson1832: ... earned profits, did.

        So this business basically robbed shareholders of these money, which took years for Google to earn.

        Of course, Motorola did not disappear, but this company borders on losses and purely virtual profit levels for years. Shareholders are going to get their money back in about never, or in like hundred years if we will imagine that there are no losses but only small profits.

        There is, of course, chances that Motorola will all of sudden become profitable. But these chances are low and then it will take too many years to compensate these $12 billions which shareholders could have right now at their hands.
      • RE: Could Intel win in Tablet and Smartphones by offering protection in the patent wars?


        Ok, got it. I'm not sure if I agree since I think Motorola was near the bottom of their dip, but I guess we'll see. I also think that Google felt that controlling Motorola's patents was worth the price almost on their own (probably why they paid such a premium over the stock price). I think Goolge had about $40 billion cash on hand when they made the deal, so they can still do just about whatever they want.