Re: "We certainly would have liked to have been notified"
It looks like AMD did the same, my Asus motherboard received a partial Spectre patching update in December.
I would say this is standard practice, the whole supply-chain needs to be informed (I'm betting Dell and HP were also informed at the same time as Lenovo, for example), so they can make a co-ordinated release of patches, when the situation is made public. (Kiboshed by El Reg jumping the gun by a week.)
And, according to El Reg, the Linux Kernel people were also informed in advance, or at least a small team of them, probably Intel employees, so that the Linux Kernel was patchable for when the announcement was planned.
Likewise Microsoft (and Apple), as the 2 major players in desktop, they were informed in advance, so they could patch in time for the announcement.
Google didn't need informing to patch their infrastructure, as they were among the people who found the problems.
I'd guess the biggest cloud providers, who weren't already informed as above, were then informed in order of size / importance, aka Amazon, then everyone else.
Given that Intel needed to get microcode changes done and out to Microsoft, Apple and Linux Kernel, manufacturers needed to implement BIOS updates and MS, Apple, Linux, Google etc. needed to then triage their operating systems to close the wholes or mitigate the problems, it isn't unreasonable that they were informed ahead of hosters and governments.