Quoted: on the USB, still connecting after all these years

“I think what we did was we created an open standard that everybody can benefit. What I am happy to see is that everybody participates in this ecosystem and they are all making money.”

Ajay Bhatt, co-inventor of the USB, which remains the standard for moving data from one digital device to another amid the rapid changes in the computing industry. “Somebody interviewed me once and they said, I don’t know, I don’t know, if I made a penny per USB point and Intel made a penny per USB point then we would have made a lot of money,” he told CNN, which says that today, almost 20 years after the invention of USB, an estimated 10 billion USB devices are being used around the world. About 2 billion USB devices are shipped every year, Bhatt says. The Intel Fellow and chief platform architect says it took six years and plenty of convincing — of his Santa Clara chip giant employer and other tech companies and gadget makers — before they got on board. (Bhatt and others at Intel did the work on the standard’; other companies credited for its development are Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC and Nortel.) Bhatt was immortalized as a “rock star” inventor in an Intel TV commercial a few years ago, although he was portrayed by an actor. Still, he scored cool points with his daughter: “When I first found out my dad was going to get a commercial … I screamed, actually,” Priya Bhatt reportedly said at the time. Nowadays, as the PC industry goes through a transformation prompted by the rise of mobile, Bhatt is working on “a computer that will last all day long,” he told Intel Free Press, an in-house publication, in an interview published Thursday. “We’re in the midst of reinventing the PC once again.”


Photo of USB drive from Associated Press archives

Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (4035 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also helps take care of SiliconValley.com, the Mercury News tech website. Email: lsumagaysay (at) bayareanewsgroup (dot-com).