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A year ago: Digital dating finds Intel unexpected partner

Alpha Alpha seeds the beaches

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Hats off to the brave team from Samsung Semiconductor, who gamely battled through a "why Alpha isn't dead really" presentation in London just a couple of days after Digital had thrown the switch on the cryogenic chamber. Alpha licensee Samsung can't be too thrilled about the Intel Digital deal (see previous issue); Digital is at the very least offering its customers IA-64 as an alternative upgrade path to Alpha, and at worst letting the line gently wither. This is meanwhile strike three for Samsung, which built Risc workstations with the Intel i960, then licensed PA Risc but forgot to license any software from HP, and now looks in good shape to be the only company still trying to evangelise Alpha. But Samsung might get something more useful out of the Intel-Digital treaty, as it also seems to take Digital out of the frame as far as StrongARM, its development of the ARM processor, is concerned. Along with Mitsubishi, Samsung is a StrongARM manufacturer, and StrongARM is a processor that quite a lot of people actually want. Intel doesn't want it, or at least it doesn't think it does. It quite possibly didn't register on Intel's radar screens when the deal to buy Digital's semiconductor operations was struck, but the StrongARM manufacturing operation nevertheless came along with the rest, and now Intel is scratching its corporate head about what to do. We're not sure either. Digital can't have sold its rights to StrongARM to Intel outright, and might not even have included it in the licence deal that was part of the package (under the terms of its own licence agreement with Advanced Risc Machines, it might not have been allowed to). So Intel probably isn't in a position to just sit on StrongARM, and if it is, ARM should sue its own lawyers for not allowing for this eventuality in its licences. And if Intel doesn't want to continue development of StrongARM, then it's probably possible for an eager Samsung and/or Mitsubishi to pick up the ball instead. Which doesn't help Intel either, does it? ® From The Register No. 61

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