Delays in the shipment of Intel's Merced chip will cause minimal repercussions to users and the state of the industry.
Merced is to be delayed by six months to mid-2000, Intel revealed last week. However, analysts played down the importance of the setback, noting that Microsoft is unlikely to have a 64-bit operating system ready for the release of Merced.
Intel's share price hit its lowest point in a year last week, but it is unclear whether this was caused by the postponement of the Merced processor or the expectation that the Federal Trade Commission will vote this week to bring an anti-trust case against Intel (see PC Week, 2 June).
If there are going to be any winners from the delay it is likely to be Unix vendors running on alternative chip architectures, like Sun and Digital.
Ian Stephen, Digital's Unix and NT product marketing manager, said the delay to Merced extends the window of performance opportunity that 64-bit Alpha has over Merced.
Ashim Pal, senior analyst at Meta Group, believes Wintel is unlikely to lose business to the Unix vendors, because NT is not ready for the enterprise space. Failures in clustering and failover capabilities kept the door to the enterprise locked regardless of the availability of Merced, he said.
Rob Hailstone, chief analyst at Bloor Research, pointed out that the delay to the release of the chip would give Intel the opportunity to sell more 32-bit chips to recoup on the loss of demand in the slow down of the desktop market.
- See Analysis, page 28
- See Leader, page 30.
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