IBM Micro denies it will stop making CPUs

Jobs could go if stories true

IBM Microelectronics has formally denied it is to exit the processor market after first NatSemi-Cyrix and then AMD disclosed details of their future plans. A representative of the Geneva-based company in Europe said: "There has been no agreement made to sever the relationship between Cyrix and IBM. Nothing has happened." That follows earlier reports here, and widely on the World Wide Web, that NatSemi-Cyrix had said it will be able to produce its own processors by year-end, using its own state-of-the art technology. A source close to AMD told The Register that his company was also backing off using IBM as a second source fab as its capacity ramped up. If AMD and Cyrix decide to dispense with IBM's services, that will leave Big Blue without any processor design capability of its own, a source said. It is committed to using Intel chips. The surprise for most outside observers has always been why IBM did not use its own x86 chips in its own low end Aptivas, preferring to source them from outside. However, it could lead to job cuts because IBM Micro has agents within Europe and in other territories which sell on the chips to third parties. One distributor of non-Intel chips said: "It's virtually done. They've done a deal. NatSemi is a big supplier to IBM at a corporate level. IBM Microelectronics was a licence to print money." No one from AMD nor Cyrix was willing to comment at press time. ®

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