Politics and technology shouldn't mix -- but in Silicon Valley, they often do. Take Intel Corp.'s quest to establish its own standard for plug-and-play peripheral connectivity. It created USB (Universal Serial Bus), a reliable if somewhat poky port for keyboards, mice, printers, and scanners. Then along came FireWire, an Apple Computer Inc.-developed standard for high-speed peripherals and media devices such as hard drives, printers, and digital video cameras.
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