The chip has been in the works for so long and said to be imminent so often that a degree of scpecticism will greet the Wall Street Journal’s story that we may really be seeing 80486 clones from Taipei, Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp before the end of the year. United has been developing the chip since 1991, but the launch has been delayed several times because of technical problems. Now, according to Tsai Ming-kai, United’s executive vice-president, the first microprocessors are likely to reach the market by late this year. Intel Corp has said it wants to examine United’s microprocessors before discussing any possible legal action; needless to say, Mr Tsai says United’s design doesn’t infringe on Intel patents, adding that it is already being tested by a small number of customers, initially clocked at only 33MHz.
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