AMD will be awarded a licence for the production of Alpha processor technology, following conditions laid down by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that Digital should not be the chips' sole supplier.
The FTC decreed that Digital must license the technology to at least two other chip manufacturers and in return gave the go-ahead to Intel's proposed purchase of Alpha production. Last year, Intel announced its intentions to buy Digital's Alpha plant in Hudson, along with the licence, for $700 million (PC Dealer, 29 October, 1997 ).
The transaction was part of a settlement between the two vendors, following Digital's lawsuit against Intel, which alleged patent infringement of the Alpha chip.
AMD already holds a licence to produce Digital's Alpha bus technology, which it intends to use within future K7 chips, but will now be able to clone Alpha chips outright. IBM and a Far Eastern manufacturer are also said to be in the frame.
However, Rana Mainee, AMD European market analyst and planning manager, said there was no time frame for Alpha chip production. 'FTC rulings are never final. While Intel and Compaq will not stand up and challenge the decision, we will wait for everything to be ratified before we commence,' he said.
Ed Bateman, product manager at Ideal Hardware, one of AMD's distributors, welcomed the FTC decree. 'If AMD produces Alpha chips, there will probably be spin-offs of Alpha that will end up on the desktop. That is good news for us,' he commented.
An Intel representative played down the ruling. 'We will have a 64-bit chip in Merced. We don't think there will be any real impact if AMD or IBM decided to produce Alphas,' he said.
CEO Graeme Watt admits the trading climate is becoming a little more uncertain as he and CFO Graham Charlton reflect on the reseller's £1bn year
Security vendor appoints Infinigate as part of strategy to grow channel business
As the trade war between the US and China ramps up, Marian McHugh investigates what impact this will have on UK prices and how partners are adapting to higher costs
CRN quizzes Avaya CEO Jim Chirico on the firm's progress after exiting Chapter 11 earlier this year, and listing on the stock exchange