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Updated Via Technologies is likely to spin out its microprocessor business, made up of technology from the old IDT-Centaur and Cyrix chip operations, this year, CEO We-chi Chen told the Taiwanese press yesterday. The news is already prompting widespread speculation that AMD and Via could tie up their businesses, in a bid to give chip major Intel an even tougher run than it has had in the course of the last four months. That spin has been scotched today by Via. Marketing director Richard Brown, based in Taipei, said: "There's no truth in these rumours. It's true that we will spin off the chip company but it will be 100 per cent owned by Via. We have no plans to merge with AMD or anyone else." At a press conference in Taipei yesterday, Chen said that as much as $300 million could go into a separate CPU business. Brown amplified that statement by saying the idea was to "maintain the vitality within the CPU company". He said that everyone in the CPU division of Via was now clear what the objectives are, and a spun-off division would remain under the umbrella of its parent. However, since Via bought up the ailing Cyrix and IDT businesses, its relationship with AMD has grown ever closer. Currently Via, and some of its partners, are facing legal action from Intel, over alleged patent infringement. And Via is also anxiously waiting for a decision by US fed body, the International Trade Commission, prompted by a complaint by Intel, that would effectively prevent it importing its chipsets into the US. Executives on that body, which received the complaint in January, said they would deliver a decision within a few weeks. Brown said that the ITC would take quite some time to reach a deliberation on Intel's complaint. "They've agreed to hear it, but are still deciding who the judge is going to be," he said. Similarly, legal cases pending, including one in London, still wait for details to be finalised, such as a date for hearing the case. As far as a spun off CPU company is concerned, earlier this year, at CeBIT 2000, we reported that Via was not in any condition to start distributing its CPUs on a worldwide basis for at least a year, given that it has no merchant infrastructure, nor distributor channel to sell the CPUs. AMD has such a structure and could help it out. There's no doubt there's quite a close relationship between the two. Added to the current alliances Via has with AMD, the Taiwanese firm has also made considerable investments in graphics firm S3. There have been persistent rumours on Silicon Investor and other financial bulletin boards, that CEO Chen has been making large investments in AMD stock. These, apparently, are just rumours. ® Related Stories Via downplays swift Joshua impact Compaq likely to use Via Joshua chip Chipzilla squats on Tariff Towers Via takes further stake in S3

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