Microsoft is collaborating with Intel on the P7 chip, codenamed Merced, according to a US report. The report adds that the 64-bit design will not be ready for at least two years.
Microsoft's involvement centres on future generations of Windows NT and raises doubts about Hewlett Packard's role in the project. HP had suggested that development of the P7 would run in parallel with its PA-8000 family.
Earlier this year, one source suggested the collaboration between HP and Intel had ended acrimoniously (PC Dealer, 21 February). Intel had set up an independent group, said Terry Keene, CEO of Enabling Technology.
HP has said its PA-9000 chip will be identical with Merced.
Microsoft aims to ship 64-bit NT at the same time as Intel releases its processor. An inability to synchronise plans in the past led to the Pentium Pro running 16-bit software slower than the Pentium.
HP will only commit itself to producing a successor to PA-Risc 'before the year 2000'.
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