Fears that Intel was working on two flavours of Merced processor technology - one proprietary and one backward compatible - have made Compaq stake its claim to the future chip design.
Senior executives at Compaq fear Hewlett Packard'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.
Compaq said it wanted to make sure present applications and operating systems will work with Intel 64-bit chips.
John Rose, a senior VP of engineering at Compaq, said it will work with Intel to create clustered systems 'without the cost of proprietary solutions'.
He said that Compaq's position as the largest manufacturer focused only on Intel architecture meant it had dedicated a substantial team of hardware, integration and systems engineers to work closely with the chip giant.
A source at Compaq said it feared archrival HP 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 an Intel representative said HP and Intel were only working on instruction sets and that Merced will be available to all its OEMs.
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