Fri, Jul 16, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Intel urged to continue WiMAX support

FEARSThe influential Taipei Computer Association fears Intel’s decision to streamline its WiMAX development operation is signaling its intention to abandon the technology

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

An influential electronics group yesterday said it has urged Intel Corp to continue its full support for the development of WiMAX technology it initiated to compete with other 4G technologies, after the US chip giant’s decision to dissolve a WiMAX task force rattled its local partners.

Being long-time followers, Taiwanese electronics companies hope WiMAX technology will give them a chance to dominate the evolving mobile Internet industry, which would also be a boon to telecom-makers and end product suppliers.

“We cannot do it alone. We’ve got to team up with technological partners to make this work,” said Mike Lin (林智清), a consultant to the Taipei Computer Association (TCA, 台北市電腦公會), by telephone.

The TCA fears Intel’s move to incorporate its WiMAX Program Office with other divisions was a message that it was phasing out the development of this technological ecosystem, Lin said.

The TCA, which represents over 4,000 local technology companies including WiMAX equipment makers D-Link Corp (友訊) and Gemtek Technology Co Ltd (正文), said its members were seriously concerned about Intel’s latest structural adjustment involving the WiMAX Program Office.

In a July 7 meeting with Navin Shenoy, a vice president of Intel’s sales and marketing group in the Asia-Pacific region, TCA chairman Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) said that WiMAX would at least become a niche market if not one of the mainstream technologies and that it was now facing a crucial period.

“If Intel truly wants to see that, it should take Taiwan as a global strategic partner and allocate more resources to Taiwan by collaborating with Taiwanese companies in the WiMAX supply chain,” Wang said in a statement released by the TCA yesterday.

Intel chief executive officer Paul Otellini is expected to talk more about its WiMAX plan during his visit to Taiwan in October, the association said.

Intel confirmed on July 1 a report that it was integrating its WiMAX Program Office with various platform, product and sales organizations.

The progress of WiMAX had led to this organizational transition, a normal process that takes place when new technologies mature and become a standard part of existing computing platforms, the chipmaker said.

This structural change could jeopardize the confidence of Intel’s partners, who fear the US chipmaker might not fulfill its commitment to support WiMAX technology according to the memorandums of understanding it signed with the government and local firms, the TCA said.

“Intel’s decision to dissolve the WiMAX Program Office will scarcely have any impact on the race between WiMAX and LTE [Long Term Evolution] technologies [for 4G dominance] in the short run. But it is likely that fewer countries or areas will adopt WiMAX in the future,” Simon Su (蘇晟愷), an analyst with Digitimes’ research unit, said in a report yesterday.

The weaker-than-expected strength of WiMAX technology in vying for 4G dominance could be one of the reasons behind Intel’s streamlining of its WiMAX office, Su said.

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