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Four years ago: Chip makers ready steeds for Desperation Derby

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Remember those days when you were a shy suitor and brought round a bunch of flowers for your sweetheart in the vain hope she might climb into the back of your dad's car with you later on? Or, alternatively, remember those days when some gawky pimply lad you couldn't stand, tried to lay you for the price of a box of chox and a bunch of roses? The politically correct must choose the opening paragraph which suits them best. All is fair in love, war and horse racing. It's not entirely clear whether Eckhard Pfeiffer has a single romantic bone in him, but he is noted for his probity. He has approached clone chip manufacturer NexGen with a bunch of poinsettias, The Register understands. NexGen, which uses IBM fabrication facilities, is set to roll out its answer to Intel's bid to sell megamillions of Pentiums in what is looking increasingly like the 1995 version of the Desperation Derby. Compaq likes NexGen. Second sourcing for Compaq remains a strategic lever it will use extensively in 1995. Compaq -- which has a one percent share in NexGen -- wants to use a variety of alternative sources to Intel. AMD and NexGen are favoured contenders. Other, stranger animals, are also understood to be attracting bets from Pfeiffer. In this race, Intel remains odds-on favourite to win, with allegations of nag nobbling clearly unsubstantiated. Horse racing -- like chip making -- is a competitive business and the stakes are high. In this type of race, rumours are rife. One example. AMD took on an incandescent glow last week at suggestions that Intel might sue customers Compaq and ICL. The insinuation emanated from one of the 6-1 outsiders in the race. Furious AMD company executives pointed out that after a court case over a telecommunications chip many moons ago, it indemnified all of its customers from these type of unfortunate repercussions. But The Register is beginning to think that the 1995 Desperation Derby will present a very strange picture indeed to punters. Rather than just be restricted to two year old geldings, the field is likely to be far wider than first anticipated. When the starting gate goes up, we're likely to see dromedaries, greyhounds, hares, red herrings and even dodos lumbering towards the finishing post. Place your bets. ® From The Register Number Nine

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