IBM is about to license Alpha processor technology from Compaq, claim US sources - a move that would strike a further blow at Intel's delayed Merced 64-bit architecture.
Ironically Intel, which has manufacturing rights for Alpha, may end up making the chips for IBM and Compaq, which said last week that it would build its volume servers using the Alpha platform that it acquired with Digital Equipment.
But IBM may also start to manufacture Alpha chips. Before it would approve the sale of Digital processor factories to Intel last year, the US Federal Trade Commission insisted that the technology was licensed to Intel rivals too, including AMD and Samsung (see separate story).
If the deal with IBM is signed next week as expected, two of the world's top three PC manufacturers will have committed to a 64-bit chip architecture, while still hedging their bets with Intel's Merced.
That technology will be very delayed and is also backed by HP, a keen competitor to both Compaq and IBM. IBM refused to comment on the reports.
A representative for AMD said: "The FTC told Digital it had to license the technology to us and others. AMD is keeping its options open."
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