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Thunderbolt's slow start and high prices may be due to Intel 'working closely' with select vendors

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macbook pro thunderbolt
macbook pro thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is a little more than a month from its two-year anniversary, and it's hard to say that the connector is anything more than an expensive, niche product. Things have picked up a bit, but there's clearly something holding back manufacturers. Intel may be the culprit: according to Ars Technica, the chipmaker's director of Thunderbolt Marketing & Planning, Jason Ziller, said Intel "'worked closely' with vendors it felt could 'offer the best products' and could meet its stringent 'certification requirements.'" We've heard rumblings before that Intel's licensing process was part of the holdup behind getting more (and cheaper) Thunderbolt products out there, but this is the first time we've heard Intel suggest it is cherry-picking which vendors to work with.

Ziller did tell Ars Technica that consumers should expect more Thunderbolt products from a wider array of vendors during this year as the company opens up licensing, but it has been a long wait. In the meantime, we have seen the connector move beyond hard drives to motherboards, Windows PCs, and hubs, and we've even seen Apple drop the price of its cables and others have begun selling their own third-party connectors. Whether or not more manufacturers produce Thunderbolt products at lower prices, it's almost certain 2013 will be a better year for the connector than 2012 was.