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Analysis There's definitely a breakaway faction amongst the top tier PC manufacturers and here at The Register we know only too well their names. They number not only Compaq, Fujitsu and Siemens amongst their ranks, but other, less volatile players who are in the top tier of the industry, and multinational companies with it. But these major Intel stalwarts are only reluctantly, and rather slowly, showing their heads above the parapet, fearful of losing their life if they cheese off the Great Satan of Chips. Strangely enough, it was Digital (DEC) in its former incarnation (before it was taken over by Compaq) which dared to beard the lion in his den,so to speak. (See the old Register site Intel gives Digital $700 million) The then CEO of DEC, Robert Palmer, insisted that the FTC sort out a problem it had with Intel over the Alpha technology and the Alpha chip Digital manufactured. Bob Palmer is now a director of AMD. Eckhard Pfeiffer, the CEO of Compaq as was, decided to snap up DEC and its Alpha processor and go big-time into services as well as pushing the 64-bit processor --supposed to be good until 2010 -- to its limits. With hindsight, it appears that Pfeiffer may well have had a very valid point acquiring the Alpha technology, although he was subjected to many a curse by shareholders, seeing the price of stock plunge like there was no tomorrow. That makes it all the more strange that Compaq, post-Pfeiffer, decided to deck Windows NT for the up-and-coming Wildfire technology it has talked about for many a year. Before Pfeiffer was ousted as CEO, and a triumvirate set up in his place earlier this year, his many marketeers had predicted the way the Alpha would proliferate. And now that AMD seems to be soaking up market share from Pfeiffer's former bete noire, Intel, it makes it all the more interesting that Compaq and the company with the Dresden plant are as close as ever. Sources close to Compaq tell us that it is assisting AMD actively in its move to server technology, and that the rumours that Slot B is no more are very far from the truth. Further, it is helping AMD with moving software to 64-bit technology, specifically with the up-and-coming Sledgehammer technology Intel's rivals has in its wings. And, more than that, it seems that Compaq's rivals, the top tier vendors, are now moving further than ever away from Intel's roadmaps plans and towards a chip solution the market wants. Compaq and AMD were always close. When Pfeiffer was the CEO, he pushed his company to use AMD chips in PCs, despite the prevailing wisdom of the times. It seems that memories are long in Houston and everything that was in the past, has finally caught up with Chipzilla. ® Search the Old Register site for more details

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