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NatSemi, Acer, Microsoft threaten Intel hegemony

The MS Web Pad will use the Geode part

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Sources close to semiconductor manufacturer National Semiconductor told The Register today that the Microsoft version of the Web Pad, expected to be announced shortly, will be built by Acer and use the Geode chip. That is likely to cause hearts in Intel's HQ in Santa Clara to flutter, given that its own system-on-a-chip (SOC) design, the Timna, is not expected to emerge in systems until March next year at the earliest. Intel is also likely to be very upset that its good partner Acer is going with a NatSemi-Microsoft design, and suggests that the Wintel axis is showing further signs of crumbling. Microsoft and Intel have distanced themselves from each other for some good three years. The source at NatSemi said that Acer would provide the manufacturing volume for the Microsoft Web Pad, and that his company would likely sell many hundreds of thousands of parts in conjunction with TV and other companies. We understand that Microsoft has approached a number of multinational hotel chains to supply such machines for their customers. Some hardware sites in the last day have suggested that Intel is now re-writing software for games. Intel was not available for comment at press time. ® See also Acer goes NatSemi Geode mad

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