The companies will begin promoting a technology specification called EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) as a new system for starting up a PC's hardware before its operating system begins loading, a process that kicks in every time a PC is switched on or restarted.
Intel and Microsoft say it's time to ditch the outmoded BIOS, or basic input/output system, which for 23 years has served to start a PC's hardware before the operating system takes over. The companies say the Extensible Firmware Interface, or EFI, makes it simpler to add improvements to PCs and speeds up the booting process.
Although many agree that the BIOS is out of date, a new technology isn't likely to be adopted until it's declared an industry standard. Intel and Microsoft will push for that, but with PC makers historically resistant to change, EFI is, if anything, likely to exist alongside BIOS for some time.
[ … ]
Still, some companies might see EFI as a way for Intel and Microsoft to push their own ideas for the future of PC design, McCarron said. There are “some concerns that it's being used to enable features that customers don't want,” he said.
Intel says such suspicions are unfounded–companies that decide to go with EFI will be able to use it any way they like, by picking and choosing different features. EFI users don't necessarily have to work directly with Intel, either. They can gain access to the technology by working with companies like Insyde, or eventually use technology developed by the forum, once it gets started. [Privacy Digest]