Fears that Intel was working on two flavours of Merced processor technology, one proprietary and one backward compatible, have caused Compaq to stake its claim to the future chip design.
Senior executives at Compaq fear HP?s close relationship with Intel will make the company lean towards a proprietary chip rather than one which will run existing software, hardware and protocols.
Texan-based Compaq said that it wanted to make sure present applications and operating systems will work with Intel 64-bit chips. John Rose, a senior vice president of engineering at Compaq, said it will work with Intel to create clustered systems ?"ithout the cost of proprietary solutions".
He claimed that Compaq?s position as the largest manufacturer focused only on Intel architecture meant that it had dedicated "a substantial team" of hardware, integration and systems engineers to work closely with the chip giant.
A source at Compaq said that it feared its arch-rival Hewlett Packard had a hidden agenda. He said: "Our customers were more than a little bit worried that only HP has been working with Intel on this product and that will mean it will produce proprietary products. This [statement] demonstrates that other people are involved here."
But Compaq fears were dismissed by an Intel spokeswoman. She said that HP and Intel were only working on instruction sets and that Merced will be made available to all of its OEMs.
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