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Big Q's petition to FTC on Alpha might well fail

Whatever happened to low-end Alphas?

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The shenanigans at Compaq earlier this year when it withdrew its support for Microsoft NT and Win64 on the Alpha platform is likely to have a negative effect on an attempt by the firm to alter a FTC consent agreement. Last week, Compaq asked the US Federal Trade Commission to remove an element from the agreement which required Digital (now Q), to license Alpha technology to IBM, AMD and other chip firms. However, it is likely that the FTC may say no to Compaq's request, because this element of the consent agreement it brokered between Intel and Digital was put in place to ensure competition between x.86 and Alpha microprocessors. Terry Shannon, editor of influential newsletter Shannon knows Compaq, said: "AMD is giving Intel a serious run for the money with the Athlon. And that might that something to do with the technology it shares with the Alpha." Because of that, said Shannon, the FTC is likely to look at the wider implications of the clause for AMD's continuing competition and reject Compaq's request. He added that Compaq is somewhat upset that AMD, which licensed the EV6 system bus, scuttled its plans to make Slot B Athlon chips. "Since there's no real pro quo for the quid, it would not be in Compaq's best interests to share additional Alpha technology, not to mention an outright architectural licence, with AMD." ®

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