USB 3.0 Host Controller Spec Will Be Free, Intel Says

Intel plans to make the specification for a USB 3.0 host controller freely available during the second half of this year, hitting back at rumors the chip maker wanted to keep the technology for itself.

The specification will be made available under a contract that doesn't require royalty payments. "Basically: free, gratis, unpaid, zero dollars, free of charge, at no cost, on the house," wrote Nick Knupffer, an Intel spokesman, on a company blog.

Knupffer's comments on the host controller specification is an apparent response to industry rumors Intel wanted to keep USB 3.0 -- which promises substantially faster transfer speeds than USB 2.0 -- for itself, meaning that only Intel-made chipsets would support this feature. The host controller specification -- which differs from the USB 3.0 specification -- is meant to speed the design of chips that support USB 3.0, he said.

The USB 3.0 specification is being developed by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group. The group counts Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, NXP Semiconductors, NEC and Texas Instruments as members.

Intel isn't planning to make the host controller specification available because the company's executives are nice people, Knupffer said.

"After all, the sooner USB 3.0 hits the market, the sooner all you readers will be flooding your devices and hard drives with insanely large files requiring masses amounts of computational resources, improving your lives, and making you pleased that you bought a quad-core processor," he wrote.

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