Earlier this week, Digitimes reported that Intel is providing $100 "marketing subsidies" for ultrabook manufacturers in order to lower hardware prices, but Intel's Bill Calder told CNET today that "there is no $100 subsidy for ultrabooks," and that "the report from Digitimes was false." We're not clear if Intel's message about subsidies is purely semantic, because they still fund manufacturers at some level; as analyst Nathan Brookwood tells CNET, the company routinely offers money to manufacturers in the form of cooperative advertising. Instead of paying companies to build hardware, Intel offers advertising funds, thereby avoiding the Federal Trade Commission's ire over anticompetitive behavior.
The good news is that even without this particular $100 subsidy, the price of ultrabooks have already dropped well below $1,000 (of course, for the better models, you're still going to be paying around the same price as a MacBook Air). But regardless of which bucket Intel throws money into, OEMs are clearly working hard to bring a dizzying array of new ultrabooks to market — we'll be up to our ears in the things come January at CES.