Intel pats Taiwan on the head, tells it not to worry

As Taiwan threatens to chat to rival ARM over Intel’s dawdling on WiMAX, Jason Chen, Intel Taiwan country manager, has had his full comments come to light. The basic line is: We want to deploy WiMAX but we’re not telling you when.

After Intel and the FTC yesterday posted their settlement agreement on antitrust and anticompetitive allegations against the chip giant it may seem somewhat risky that Intel is keeping Taiwan hanging on a thread, like a friend who promises you that fiver he owes you next week or a kid telling you he’ll do his homework later. 

“Nothing has changed,” Jason told reporters at a WiMAX event. He didn’t go on to say: “We’re still not doing anything.”

He actually said that Taiwan should calm down because “Key Intel executives fly to Taiwan every three to four months for business purposes.” But he did not mention when CEO Paul Otellini would be visiting to sort out the mess of confusion. “We are not aware of Paul’s visiting schedule.”

We don’t seea need to hold a press conference to have Paul speaking on the issue.”
Just as Craig R Barrett was terrified of flying over to India. We’ve anecdotally heard Craig R Bhārata was flown in to Bangalore, limo’d to the Leela Palace hotel (best room Indian 75,000 R a night, or about $1,600 US) directly opposite Intel’s office,  picked up by another limo to cross the road then off to the airport again. We wonder if Otellini has been making fly-by-night trips to the best Taiwan has to offer, skulking around and heading back home again.

Either way Intel’s really getting Taiwan’s goat. Jason Chen – not to be confused with Gizmodo iPhone botherer and editor in chief – has been the first top exec to reply officially to Taiwan’s worries that Intel is withdrawing from WiMAX development.

The Taipei Computer Association, made up of over 4,000 tech companies from the region including makers of WiMAX, announced last month that it is hoping Otellini will fly over to Taiwan in October to have a chat about WiMAX. The Taipei Times reports that the meeting is supposed to be on a non disclosure basis because of business ethics, so it shocked Intel when the TCA opened its trap. But Intel may need a bit of bullying. 

Chen and Intel are still poo-pooing LTE. He said that there won’t be a major infrastructure for LTE over the next two years: “WiMAX is very competitive in terms of cost structure against the current 3.5G, but the cost structure for LTE may not be as competitive.”

WiMAX operators such as Vmax are telling Intel it needs to put up or shut up. “Our WiMAX licence allows us to invest in WiMAX, but we are not limited only to WiMAX,” a spokesperson said.

So what do we know from Chen’s comments? We, and we suspect Taipei execs, are none the wiser. What we do know is that Intel is promising a lot without showing the goods and Otellini hasn’t booked an economy plane fright over yet, because all Intel execs fly economy, all the time.