In a dramatic break with tradition, Silicon Graphics (SGI) plans to enter the Wintel market.
SGI will release a range of Windows NT graphics workstations based on Intel processors next year. The company has had a RISC-only Unix strategy for the past 10 years but Microsoft and Intel's assault on the Unix market has proved too strong.
At an analysts briefing in the US, Edward McCracken, SGI's chairman, described Microsoft and Intel as "the air and water" of the computing industry. "You have to accept this and not resist them (Intel and Microsoft) as the evil empire," he added.
Chris Calvert, UK marketing director at SGI, said: "We are looking at the NT platform because we believe we can add value in areas where Silicon Graphics is traditionally very strong."
"We are looking at the low end of the CAD market, in the media industry and manufacturing where NT has seen some success," he added.
SGI's current workstations cost from #5,000 to #100 million. Calvert said the Wintel workstations would be positioned as entry-level workstations but that there were no plans to enter the commodity PC market.
Calvert denied the change of strategy would adversely impact the company's RISC business.
"(Our) MIPS-based Unix workstations sell well in markets where performance is an issue. Windows NT is not all pervasive. It still suffers from scalability and interoperability problems, he maintained."
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