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Intel is making it cheaper to build great USB-C ports

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Royalty-free licensing could lead to wider adoption

usb-c Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Intel is planning to get rid of the royalties it charges third-party chipmakers that use its Thunderbolt 3 specification sometime next year, according to a report from Wired, which could make it easier for hardware manufacturers to use Intel’s data transfer specification.

USB-C is a complicated specification — just because a port is physically a USB-C port, doesn’t mean it’s got the same technology driving it on the inside. One of those standards is Intel’s Thunderbolt 3, the current generation of Intel’s ultra-fast data transfer system, which switched from using the Mini DisplayPort connection to USB-C.

Thunderbolt 3 is one of the most versatile USB-C solutions out there, with fast speeds and charging, but Intel’s licensing fees also meant that its more expensive to use. By opening up the protocol, Intel hopes to encourage “broader adoption in the ecosystem, with a lot of different peripherals and other devices,” Jason Ziller, who leads Intel’s Thunderbolt development, tells Wired. Intel is also reportedly working to integrate Thunderbolt 3 into future CPUs, which should also help adoption.