Once upon a time, I was a big supporter of Intel, as the originator of the x86 instruction set and, by extention, the modern concept of the microcomputer as being a device whose processor was contained in a single integrated circuit.
However, as I've come to learn more about how businesses work - especially Big ones - I've come to realize that they're only after one thing: your sheqels.
Let me elaborate.
A couple of years ago, I received for my birthday an Asus VivoTab Smart, along with a Microsoft Wedge keyboard. Together, they made a damn' good setup, and I wrote quite a lot of Singularity and Journeyman on it. The tablet itself had - and still has - a pretty respectable spec.
And then Windows 10 came along, and brought with it an architectural fault which made it somehow incompatible with the graphics driver. 'OK,' I thought, 'Microsoft will do an update that'll make it compatible, or Intel will release a compatible driver.'
But there wasn't a whiff of a new driver between Windows 10 going RTM and now. I'd heard rumours that something was going to be done, and then I'd heard rumours that it wasn't. So I took to Twitter to ask Intel's customer support when they were going to address this problem. And what did they say?
First, they said I should check Windows Update for updates, but then when I told them I had done, and had gone so far as to research the hardware inside my tablet to work out if I could find new drivers direct on the Intel site, they said I should be running a "supported operating system." In other words, I shouldn't have upgraded to Windows 10.
Not upgrading to Windows 10 would have meant quite a lot of time every other day, continually removing and declining updates, removing GWX, and hacking and re-hacking the registry (which I've had to do on my Windows 7 netbook a few times). It would also - more fundamentally - have meant that I wouldn't be able to run much of the software I now use on my laptop and my 7-inch Windows 10 tablet, which would have made it, ultimately, little more useful to me than it is now.
Now - of course - I'm sure they knew this when they said that, and - of course - I pulled them up on it. Their response: I should be running a "supported operating system," and about that particular device: "I regret to inform you that Intel is not planning to release drivers for Intel® GMA. Sorry for the inconvenience." Inconvenience, my arse. It's a profound waste of money and time, resulting in my labours going unrewarded and my tablet still being, essentially, a £300 mirror. And then, ironically enough, they say that "in order to get the best performance out of your equipment it is good to check the latest software supported for it." Like Windows 10. With Windows 10-compatible fucking drivers.
The crux of the whole exchange, though, was this: "Intel is always moving forward with its support and seeking to provide the newest products to their customers." What does that mean!?
It means that Intel are, in theory, happy to provide support for their products - by way of getting me to buy new hardware every time a big release of Windows happens and borks the drivers which they then refuse to replace.
It's built-in obsolescence. Microsoft break driver compatibility, and then Intel refuse to update the drivers. Result? I pay for a new computer, the cost of which includes an all-new processor (from Intel, they hope), an all-new GPU (likewise probably from Intel), and an all-new Windows license.
That is shystery. It is utterly pathetic, reprehensible, and a fucking good reason for me to seriously consider going back to using Debian as my primary operating system.
In the meanwhile, I would be tempted to urge people to avoid buying Intel products. If they're going to be so blatant regarding their intention to make me give them more money, I'm going to be so blatant as to say fuck that.