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IBM set to rejoin PowerPC triumvirate over AltiVec support

Microelectronics division comes back to Motorola, Apple way of thinking

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IBM looks set to adopt Motorola's AltiVec PowerPC extensions after all. Quoted in an interview with EE Times, Mike Attardo, general manager of IBM's Microelectronics Division, said the two companies will soon "come to a solution" to their eight-month disagreement over the technology. Motorola first announced AltiVec, a set of vector processing instructions designed to bring to the PowerPC the ability to manipulate streamed data alongside in parallel with its regular processing operations, back in April. Soon after, IBM said it would not be supporting the technology, and it looked liked the co-developer of the PowerPC would begin to move away from the chip, not least because Apple, one of the biggest buyers of PowerPC chips, had thrown its weight behind AltiVec as a key component of its plan to offer faster machines than the Wintel world. Now, the company seems to have realised its original stance might have been a mistake. "The three companies are motivated to co-operate, and we will co-operate," said Attardo. What kind of deal the two CPU manufacturers have worked out remains to be seen -- Attardo did not go into the details of the agreement. ®

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