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Rather than start work on a rival design of its own, Mitsubishi Electric has decided to join forces with Hitachi and Fujitsu on their joint development of a 32-bit microprocessor family, and the partners will share costs equally. Although designed to support other operating systems such as Unix, the part will be optimised for Tron, The Real-time Operating Nucleus, which is Japan’s contender for the protable operating system market of the 1990s. Although this has never been spelled out, it seems likely that the basic design of the microprocessor will be based on the 32-bit chip Hitachi designed to be upwards-compatible with the Motorola 68020. The Japanese have observed the way Intel and Motorola are dominating the US market, and clearly reckon that there is room for no more than two Japanese families – NEC’s V-series and this new one.

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