The CNET Take On Intel – Clearwire Partnership

Mike covered the Intel deal to invest in Clearwire as a ponzi-esque scheme where Clearwire agreed to basically return the money to buy Intel chips. Mike’s take: kinda makes it look like Intel is ‘buying’ its customers, and at least this shouldn’t be take as a positive sign. Clever analysis, but most more mainstream media is simply accepting the messaging of Intel/Clearwire, and reporting that it’s a bullish sign for WiMAX. CNET News has a piece with a couple of omissions in the article, which significantly affect the argument the writer makes. (1) The article suggests that, “based on what its backing did for Wi-Fi, Intel’s support may indeed help popularize WiMax”. There are big differences between WiFi and WiMAX: Intel bet on the WiFi horse after the race was won, and after betting on HomeRF during the race! The WiMAX race is still on, thus harder to predict. (2) The CNET article says, “McCaw’s role in Monday’s deal is potentially meaningful, given his track record with wireless technologies.” CNET seems to have bought the spin that McCaw is always successful, but McCaw has a mediocre track record at best. His cellular company was a big success, and his Nextel investment as well, but his XO Communications was the 15th biggest bankruptcy in the US, and his Teledesic satellite ISP service (with Bill Gates) was a Billion-dollar bust. McCaw has a good track record as a cellco and a bad record as a wireless ISP. To be clear, we don’t hate WiMAX. Techdirt’s stand is that WiMAX most likely will be an important wireless technology, at least for fixed connections. But someone needs to bust the bubble of hype somewhat, and present the true promise of WiMAX. We also think “news” should dig a little deeper than a press release, and friendly analysts.

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