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February 1, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

MIPS Computer Systems Inc, Siemens AG and NEC Corp are to share a stage at New York’s Plaza Hotel next Wednesday, and although no one wants to anticipate the event by going public, the news can only mean that the Munchener and the Tokyosider are to fabricate versions of the MIPS R-series RISC chip set. The alliance is fraught with paradoxes, because Siemens is the official European second source for the lower end members of Intel Corp’s iAPX-86 microprocessor family, and is Intel’s equal partner in BiiN Systems, whereas NEC and Intel are sworn enemies, even now slugging it out in court in California. Also, on the Unix front, Siemens is a member of the Open Software Foundation where NEC is a member of Unix International Inc. The news means that Sun Microsystems will not have things all its own way with the Sparc – versions of which are made or planned by Fujitsu Ltd, Texas Instruments Inc and Matsushita Electric Corp as well as several smaller US companies, and that after the talks about Motorola making the MIPS RISC came to nothing (CI No 1,081), MIPS will have two heavyweights to stand beside LSI Logic Corp, Integrated Device Technology and Performance Semiconductor Corp. The other major player in the merchant RISC market is of course Motorola with the 88000 – and Siemens’ choice of the MIPS RISC is a further blow to Advanced Micro Devices Corp Am29000 – a further irony as Siemens has a big minority stake in AMD.

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