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Intel putting squeeze on potential customers – Transmeta boss

Allegedly

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Intel is putting "pressure" on Western computer manufacturers to ensure they don't use Transmeta's Crusoe CPUs, Transmeta's CEO has claimed.

Speaking at a Merrill Lynch technology conference this week, Transmeta's chief, Mark Allen, said: "I'm sure there is some pressure applied to them, no question."

Allen cited Dell as an example. "AMD has been trying to crack Dell* for quite some time," he said, claiming that Intel gives the PC vendors "very preferential treatment, very preferential pricing".

He could also have mentioned IBM, which last year decided not to base its ThinkPad 240 on Crusoe and chose to use an Intel Mobile Pentium III instead.

At the time, Transmeta insiders told us they believed Intel put the squeeze on Big Blue. IBM's Crusoe-based machine was "on schedule, fully functional, and IBM was very happy with it", claimed the mole. The project was then abruptly canned, and the Intel version shown off instead.

"It happened on a Cyrix Media GX project I was involved in a while back. Intel offered us a special deal if we cut the Cyrix design," our Transmeta source also alleged.

Still, Transmeta will win in the end, Allen said. As more Far Eastern manufacturers adopt Crusoe, there will be a knock-on effect in other territories. It's only a matter of time before his company's value proposition proved a deciding factor.

Almost all of Transmeta's design wins have taken place in Asia. In particular, Crusoe has found a home in sub-notebooks aimed at the Japanese market. But don't forget that Microsoft will be using Crusoe in its upcoming Webpad product.

"I think logic dictates that we're going to see OEMs wind up putting in Transmeta sooner or later," Allen said. ®

*Bootnote

Allen's reference to Dell is interesting, given the problems Transmeta appears to have had with the PC maker in the past, as you can read in this little item we ran back in November last year: Desperate Dell begging Transmeta for a Crusoe deal?

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