Intel’s 3D Divorce Rate

When X3D, or Extensible 3D, reached a milestone earlier this month, publishing its first draft specification for CAD (computer-aided design), Intel was not part of the celebration.

The chip giant once embraced X3D, joining the Web 3D Consortium two years ago and promising great things from the partnership. But Intel, which thinks widespread use of 3D will stoke demand for high-end chips, backed out in the fall to launch its own group, its third change of heart in four years over 3D.

While many software developers and industrial designers welcome the chipmaker’s investment in 3D software, the company’s erratic course in recent years has raised concern among some industry insiders and analysts that instead of promoting 3D, Intel may be threatening the industry with fragmentation.