Intel has played down the importance of its decision to cosponsor a standard for digital cable TV with Network Computer even though NCI is a subsidiary of Oracle, a rival of Intel ally Microsoft.
"It's not unusual in this business for us to align with a company that's in competition with one of our partners - or even with ourselves," said Intel spokesman Tom Waldrop. "It's not about one company versus another, but trying to establish an open architecture that will allow different vendors to supply products at different levels of the technology."
At issue is the establishment of a digital standard for cable TV that will allow the medium to be used to bring interactive services into the home via the Internet.
Microsoft has been jostling to exert control over the choice of a standard for digital TV, and some observers saw the announcement from Intel as a setback for the Redmond, Washington, software giant.