The fight between Microsoft and Intel to gain a bigger share of the multimedia market is set to intensify as the software company prepares to introduce its Talisman 3D graphics co-processor.
At the launch of MMX multimedia extensions to Intel chips two weeks ago, Ian Wilson, European technology director at the company, held out little future for what he termed "exotic" co-processors on motherboards.
Microsoft is expected to introduce Talisman within the next few months.
Sources at Microsoft confirmed that the company will hold out until Christmas 1997 before introducing up to 100 titles taking advantage of the MMX extensions.
And it's no small threat from Microsoft. The company now has the backing of Cirrus Logic, the massive Fujitsu chip business, Philips and Samsung for Talisman. According to US reports, Microsoft has also persuaded Intel to take its Talisman technology seriously, after a spate of software developers announced support for it.
On the face of it, the two companies are in agreement on future technology.
Both Bill Gates and Intel's Andy Grove appeared in a recent issue of Fortune magazine expressing their support for each others' plans. But Microsoft's move into the chip business, which happened last August, has strained the relationship, according to a source at Intel.
Optimisation of multimedia and virtual reality software is more a hardware issue than a software issue. The additional 57 instructions in the Intel MMX chip mean faster performance but if a co-processor, such as Microsoft's slated Talisman chip, are on a motherboard, this will speed things up even more.
The same Intel source Isaid Microsoft's "undoubted leadership" on the application software front meant that the Direct X multimedia APIs the Seattle company is also promising could exclude his company from the picture.
- VNU NEWSWIRE.
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