Intel announces collaboration with Taiwan

To promote cloud computing

INTEL HAS ALWAYS spent a lot of its money on various product development projects, be it in-house or with the help of various partners around the world. Earlier today, at a press conference in Taipei, the company announced that it’s launching a new collaboration program based around cloud computing on multiple levels in Taiwan.

With Intel’s President and CEO Paul Otellini on location, it’s very clear that Intel sees this as an important investment in the future of cloud computing. The company is planning to work with the Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs and its Cloud Computing Industry Development Initiative. Part of this will including supporting local companies when it comes to developing new cloud computing solutions, and for now it seems like Inventec and Wistron are both part of the companies that will get access to the latest technologies, training and technical resources from Intel.

Furthermore, Intel will be working with Taiwan’s largest telco, Chunghwa Telecom to help it accelerate its cloud computing innovation. Chunghwa Telecom will join the Open Data Center Alliance to gain access to new standardised server platforms that are being developed using off the shelf components among many things. Chunghwa Telecom is currently building several cloud computing data centers around Taiwan and, as such, this seems like a good way to get some extra help in developing new solutions for its customers.

Intel is also extending its 10 years of collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and the two will “implement new parallel computing programs to keep Taiwan’s technical talent at the forefront of global competitiveness.” In addition to this, Intel has pledged to invest its share of about $23.5 million (over the next three to five years) to establish a new R&D lab at a top university together with the National Science Council. The goal is to help commercialize embedded computing solutions that target cloud computing.

It’s fairly clear from this announcement, that Intel sees cloud computing as the next big thing, but so far we have yet to see a real killer application for cloud computing. As nice as it is to have access to your email in the cloud, share your pictures online and maybe do the odd online document collaboration, there’s still a very limited amount of really useful cloud applications out there. There’s no doubt that this is a growing market, but this will also require an infrastructure of continually connected devices that just aren’t available today. Despite a fairly rapid development of 3.75G and even 4G systems, we’re still far away from ubiquitous and unlimited wireless access to the internet for an affordable cost. That, for most of us, is a pre-requisite for moving to a cloud- based usage scenario for all of our data.

This point also brings us to a sore spot in Taiwan, based on past Intel investments here, namely WiMAX. Some years ago, Intel pledged to invest a large sum of money in WiMAX R&D here, but Intel pulled the plug early, or at least before all of that money was invested. The Taiwanese are none too happy about this history, and even the government representative mentioned it in passing during his speech at today’s press conference. There are unfortunate rumors suggesting that the Taiwanese government is shying away from working with Intel on the Cloud Computing Industry Development Initiative due to the sour taste left by Intel’s default of the WiMAX agreement. Still, nothing is impossible when you’re waving wads of cash in front of people’s faces. We’d expect the cloud computing deal to take off, sooner or later, although maybe not quite in the way Intel hoped.S|A

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