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Sources so close to Compaq that you couldn't put a cigarette paper between them and the company have confirmed the company is set to embark on a massive advertising splurge. The company will start promoting the Alpha microprocessor, its flagship chip, from the beginning of next year and will spend an estimated $100 million on an advertising campaign. As we reported last week, Compaq will introduce its Wildfire servers in February, and the money will be used to promote the benefits of Alpha 64-bit technology over competitors' offerings. The target of Compaq's money will be Sun, Hewlett Packard and IBM, all of which also have 64-bit processors. Intel is not expected to introduce its Itanium-Merced chip until June next year at the earliest. When Compaq presses the button that triggers the flood of dollars, it will come as something of a relief to members of news groups on the Web which closely follow the fortunes of the Alpha. Ex-employees of Digital, as well as present employees of Compaq, deeply resented the so-called "stealth marketing" approach DEC took in the past. Importantly for Compaq, high-end and midrange Alpha servers still have plenty of margin in them. Unlike PCs. ®

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