LONDON It may be more about perception than reality and it may be long overdue, but once Intel makes up its mind it executes quickly and usually it executes well.
If you look at the selection of Intel- and Europe-oriented headlines over the last few days it becomes clear how Intel could be well-served by the recently announced formation of Intel Labs Europe.
Firstly, in the times to come it is likely that consumers and businesses will have less wealth to dispose of than they had before. If consumers are not buying equipment with chips inside, who is? It is government-backed institutions and the public sector in general that will have money to spend and a reason to spend it. So the first goal is get closer to the tax collectors who may be willing to send some of that hard-gotten lucre your way.
Whatever Intel may say about having already participated in European collaborative research projects, the fact is that as King of the Hill, Intel has for a long time been one of the last few companies that could afford to fund R&D on its own. It probably felt, quite reasonably, that it had more to give away by collaboration than to learn. And so, with one or two notable exceptions work with IMEC being one Intel has been a haughty loner when it comes to R&D.
Unfortunately, the result is that despite having been in Europe since the 1970s, despite pursuing manufacturing here, and despite employing thousands of people across Europe, Intel comes over as a bit of an anti-social recluse. That's when it is not coming over as a ruthless business competitor.
Meanwhile Intel has spent the last four years being beaten up by the European Union over possible anti-trust violations. Indeed even as Intel was rolling out big guns Craig Barrett and Justin Rattner to try and dazzle the European Parliament, the European Court of First Instance was rejecting Intel's attempt to delay publication of the European Commission's findings on anti-trust allegations.
The ruling is set to pave the way for a final decision by EU regulators on whether Intel used illegal marketing practices to squeeze Advanced Micro Devices Inc., its main competitor out of the market.