Once bitten twice shy: Taiwan MOEA remains low key on Intel cloud computing MOU
Bryan Chuang, Taipei; Willie Teng, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 27 October 2010]
Intel, on October 28, could again sign a cooperation MOU with Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) on cloud computing development. The two parties had previously signed a MOU for WiMAX development in 2008, but Intel did not fulfill the agreement, which has prompted many to question the progress of the new deal. Vice economic minister Huang Jung-chiou declined to comment, and officials from the Department of Industrial Technology could not be reached.
According to sources from the MOEA, if the MOU signing goes through, Intel will be responsible for providing human resource support in software and hardware technology and will offer Taiwan-based companies assistance in proof of concept; cooperation in terminal device development in the Asia Pacific region; and support Taiwan companies in joining cloud computing standardization.
In April 2009, the Executive Yuan passed a cloud computing development plan that included a five-year, NT$24 billion (US$784 million) investment. At the time, the plan did not involve Intel, and Intel did not express interest in working with Taiwan-based companies. On June 25, 2010, Intel suddenly announced the dissolution of its WiMAX program office, which shocked Taiwan's 4G sector. Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang even contacted Intel chief Paul Otellini to express his concerns. Some industry observers believe the new cloud computing cooperation could be an attempt by Intel to make up for going back on the previous WiMAX agreement.
International players including IBM and Microsoft have introduced cloud computing operating systems that are highly priced. Since Taiwan companies lack self-developed technologies, Intel could assist the companies in making inroads into datacenter control systems and partnering to develop terminal devices via technology transfers.
An MOU is merely an initial cooperation agreement, the sources said, adding that if there are more details to the cooperation, the MOEA will demand Intel lists the engineers and technology involved. Additionally, impact on industry production value will also need to be tracked. In the wake of the WiMAX issue, the MOEA has remained low key on the new cloud computing agreement, and there is a chance that the signing will not go through, the sources indicated.
The latest MOU only includes cooperation over the next 2-3 years, which could be a sign that the Taiwan government now has lowered its expectations of overseas companies such as Intel.