It's said that if you if you hang around with somebody riddled with bad habits, then you're bound to pick up some of those bad habits yourself.
This is definitely true of Intel, which has undoubtedly spent too much time hanging out with Microsoft. Last week's announcement by Intel admitting its 64-bit Merced chip will be delayed by around six months, pushes the appearance of the so-called Unix-killing chip into the next millennium.
Intel has been fairly blase about the whole affair, despite the fact that its share price fell and its partner (Hewlett-Packard) is probably less than pleased that the centrepiece of its enterprise strategy is going to be significantly late. Others hanging on the line include Digital and Sun which are waiting to port their operating systems to it. Top of the waiting list comes Microsoft, King of Delays, which was hoping to ship NT 5.0 at the same time as Merced - those cynics among you smell Microsoft pulling the strings here to mask yet another delay to NT 5.0 would be way off the mark - probably. The truth is, though, that Microsoft has a handy, ready made excuse to delay NT 5.0 again - it will obviously be a shocking surprise if it does.
The only happy people at present can be found in the Unix camp, with huge grins plastered all over their faces. They see the delay as something akin to a sign from God, a chance to fire up their jaded marketing engines and take advantage of this heavenly break. The sad fact is, though, that a six month delay is not enough for the Unix camps to get their act together enough to make a difference to the eventual outcome: Merced running Windows NT 5.0. There's no doubt that Risc-based machines still have a massive edge over Pentium-based machines but the rot has set in. The low-end server market belongs to PC-based hardware now. It's only a mater of time before the mid- and high-end ranges feel the pinch. So, expect to be lambasted by a lot of bluster and brave words from the Unix players. Just remember that the best products or technologies don't win out in the end, just those with the best marketing. And as you know, Intel and Microsoft have all of that down to a fine art.
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