Dear Intel: SUE ME! – Why “Unlocking” processors is immoral

September 19th, 2010 § 5

EDIT: Let me start our by saying I did not expect this post to reach nearly as many people as it did, thanks for the emails, contact requests etc. However i think there are a few points worth clarifying on my end since some people seem to think i live in some sort of dreamland.

1. I think I already clearly acknowledged in the post that this was not solely against intel. Although this article was titled with such notation. What irks me as a consumer is the idea that companies set pricing along no guidelines besides making profit. Most companies were started because of a love or interest in something. However inevitably at some point nearly all companies lose sight of their love for a product and fall in love with money. I would be willing to wager that intel once built the best processor they could for the best pricepoint they could. This article simply states that these companies lose track of those ideas at some point. Again, I did not say this was new, or that several companies were not involved in these processes. As an opinion I simply do not think it is right. Are we all not entitled to an opinion?

2. I do not think my view of the world is either romantic nor naive. I was simply raised with a different mindset. Make no mistake, I have sold software, I have made a premium on some of that software I sold as well. But I did not sell the software to customers with scaled back capabilities and tell them that this is basically a “lite” version of what they could get if they paid “x” amount more dollars. Maybe that makes me a bad capitalist, or just dumb, but that is how I have always operated and it has made me a fairly nice living at a fairly young age. What i have done in other instances however is tell companies that if they would like other features added I could work to add those features at an additional cost. Maybe that is my real rant here. At least if Intel sold these processors at face value telling end users that they were so called “upgradable” processors before they were ever purchased then I would not have as much of an issue. i simply believe in buying and selling products at face value. So perhaps my problem actually lies in the idea that these were sold at face value as one thing and then weeks, months or even just days later they were told, oh but wait, we could also make it do this if you wished, but that will cost you $(insert arbitrary amount here)

To anyone who cares to listen i am writing this letter not solely as rant, but also in disgust of what this market has become. As a developer who loves software and who loves the freedom one can find behind a computer monitor, I am truly disappointed in something i discovered yesterday. While it has long been thought of as common knowledge to many high end computer users that computer manufacturers and the makers of the parts supplied to them were often limited in what they were “allowed” to do this is the first direct confirmation of that in some time. It’s nice when there’s a good gaming monitor under $100.

Intel’s decision to limit their hardware leaves me in disgust of what they as a company are doing to the free market. The computer industry is one which is still a bit shell-shocked by the decision of so many major companies to charge for both software and hardware support, in some cases even in the short term. Companies like Microsoft, Dell, Apple etc. to charge for the support of the very products they already sell for a profit was disappointing on many levels. These companies, whose very excuse for selling software for a profit was so that the time spent on the software could be recouped, have trended towards limited warranties and high-cost, low quality tech support. If the outsourcing and automation of most tech support was a step in the wrong direction over a decade ago then I cannot begin to describe what Intel’s latest move will mean to the market. Any decision to limit features already built into technology unless an additional fee is paid is not only malicious, it is immoral. This is an insult to the employees who have worked hard to advance this technology and a slap in the face to the loyal consumers who have bought their “latest and greatest” products that are often released in very short cycles anyhow. To Intel I have one message:

Just as the title of this article states, I have a simple message for intel. SUE ME! As a developer of technology and lover of all things tech I truly believe Intel has become a massive company by making good products. This is something they have exceeded at without a doubt. However almost inevitably every large company at some time gets to be too large for their own good. It seems obvious to me that Intel has reached that point and eclipsed the point of reality entering a zone in which they apparently believe morals no longer matter and profit is everything.

Consider this my warning to Intel: I WILL dedicate a significant amount of my free time to unlocking EVERY capability of your processors and I WILL supply those capabilities free to end users of your products. If this angers you, please refer to the picture above, and if you go to the contact page and fill out my form I will gladly send you any information needed for the certified letters and empty threats from your lawyers. I hope to hear from you soon.

To the end users and dedicated supporters of Intel products (others like me) I am sorry you have spent so many years giving back for a company who wants nothing more than to take from you. I am sorry that a company you believed in apparently never believed in you. Perhaps more importantly, I assure you all that if we cannot take Intel down all on our own, we will do it the only way I know how, one user at a time.

Until Next time.

Find me at @zbruhnke or on Facebook

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