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September 27, 1998

IBM TO OFFER ITS OWN X86 CHIPS “WITHIN 6 MONTHS”

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has had it with the x86 cloners and says it will begin selling Intel-compatible chips built to its own designs within six months. The revelation follows last week’s loss of the Cyrix chip (see separate story) which it uses in its Aptiva PCs, while just weeks ago its other mainstream partner, Advanced Micro Devices Inc shacked up with Motorola Inc to get access to that company’s copper process (CI No 3,457). IBM has a license for Intel’s intellectual property, but up to now has not had its own chip designs which is why it used Cyrix and AMD. IBM said it will develop chips for specific segments of the x86 market. Separately, it also has an agreement with STMicroelectronics (formerly SGS Thomson Microelectronics NV) signed earlier this year. IBM has access to ST’s x86-compatible cores that it will incorporate into other, customized chips. It also wants to offer ST’s pre-configured PC-on-a-chip technology further down the road. STMicroelectornics owns 60% of former Sparc designer Metaflow Technologies Inc which has its own Intel clone design which it promised to sample before the end of this year (CI No 3,171). SGS bought Metaflow from Hyundai Electronics America Inc. IBM is also fabbing Integrated Device Technology Inc’s x86 Centaur part. Other x86-compatible competitors include Transmeta Corp and Rise Technology.

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