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Via downplays swift Joshua impact

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CeBIT 2000 Via's chairman is making a keynote speech here at CeBIT later in the day and is sure to say some interesting things about the relationship it has with Intel and the rest of the industry. But, in the meantime, we stopped by the Via stand, which like AMD, Intel and National Semiconductor, is also in the farflung reaches of Halle 13, reached by trudging through many a snowflake from the north end of the show. Robert Brown, marketing director of Via, said that his company was happy to have released Joshua but dampened down any kind of talk that the Cyrix chip will make any massive inroads into the low end of the CPU market. He said that, realistically, it was likely to be a year before Via was able to deliver the back end infrastructure needed to deliver Joshua processors to the Flashpoints and Arrows of this world, and still needed to sort out how it would deliver the right type of support to this type of channel. However, Brown also said that there is a relatively large tranche of second tier vendors who would be enthusiastic about the chips and could deliver systems at a price performance point that would appeal to the lower end of the market. That, he said, was where the growth in the market would be and he expressed doubt about whether Intel's Timna processor, at the price, could deliver this level of price performance. He said that Via would carefully move to position Joshua at the right level in the market and could afford to take time to do so in the right way, pointing out that it had established a position in the chipset market over a period of some years. And why is Intel so paranoid about Via? It's not chipsets that are exercising Intel's mind, he thinks, but rather that when Via does begin to roll out large numbers of processors, it will effectively pull the rug from under Chipzilla's feet at the low end. He also reckoned, and we feel he's right, that CPUs are getting to the stage where they will no longer be considered as that important, and will, eventually, cost pennies. ®

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