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February 24, 1994

OPEN MICROPROCESSOR INITIATIVE GOES FULL STEAM AHEAD

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Open Microprocessor Systems Initiative has embarked on the second phase of its campaign to increase membership and double its case-load of projects. The Initiative’s aim is to reduce Europe’s dependence on imported semiconductors, which represent about 90% of the European market, and participants have pledged to cut this figure to 60% within five years. Home-grown microprocessors are considered critical for the European economy to remain internationally competitive, but the market is currently dominated by US suppliers, particularly Intel Corp with its iAPX-86 family. The Initiative does not intend to build chips from scratch, however, its goal being to build on existing RISC architectures so they can interoperate with each other. Membership is open to any organisation undertaking research and development in Europe, and more than 100 companies and universities are currently engaged in over 40 projects – a new member is IBM Deutschland GmbH, which will work on projects related to PowerPC. Since the Open Microprocessor Initiative was set up in April 1992, it has received $234m in funding, about half coming from the European Union.

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