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VIA goes with Pentium 4 chipset despite Intel

We can do it, whatever Chipzilla says, announces CEO

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VIA stuck two fingers up to Intel yesterday when it launched its long-awaited Pentium 4 chipset, the PX266, without winning the chip giant's approval.

VIA has always maintained that it has the right to ship such a product, thanks to the Intel technology licences it end up with by buying SonicBlue's graphics chip operation. For a while, when SonicBlue was called S3, it had a close relationship with Intel thanks to the latter's interest in the patents it had retrieved from the wreckage of crashed PowerPC developer Exponential Technologies.

Intel, of course, reckons VIA has no such right - the right was granted to S3 alone and can't be passed on to a third-party, ie. VIA, it says.

VIA certainly appears confident of its position. "My legal team told me that we won't have legal problems," reiterated VIA president and CEO Chen Wen-chi.

Maybe, but that didn't stop the company approaching Intel to discuss obtaining the chip giant's official santion. Those negotiations have clearly gone nowhere, and VIA has decided to proceed with the chipset launch anyway, a move it has long threatened to make if Intel proved intransigent.

Intel has already licensed P4 technology to VIA's rivals SIS and Acer Labs. It has also given ATI the same rights, and the graphics chip maker is expected to release a chipset that will compete with Nvidia's AMD-only nForce 220 and 420. ®

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