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Intel takes Alpha from Compaq's hands

Compaq will consolidate on IA-64 by 2004

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Compaq today confirmed that it will transfer its Alpha microprocessor division to Intel and consolidate its entire 64-bit server family on Intel's IA-64 architecture by 2004.

The two firms have issued a statement, confirming a report in The Inquirer this weekend that "Compaq is transferring significant Alpha microprocessor and compiler technology, tools and resources to Intel".

Compaq will continue to design and build new AlphaServer systems based on current and upcoming Alpha processor technology through 2003. The company plans to upgrade the current high-end AlphaServer GS Series with a 1GHz Alpha processor this summer. It has also said it will deliver systems based on its next-generation EV7 Alpha processor, which are due to be introduced at the end of next year.

Big Q will also design and build new NonStop Himalaya systems based on MIPS chip technology "until the first shipments of Itanium-based systems are available in 2004" (well that's what it has in the press release but by 2004 we'll be into McKinley and beyond on Intel's processor roadmaps).

Compaq will immediately begin to port Tru64 UNIX, OpenVMS and NonStop Kernel operating systems and development tools to the Itanium processor family.

Over the next couple of years, several hundred Compaq microprocessor engineers, compiler experts and infrastructure employees will be offered employment with Intel.

A portion of these will remain with Big Q until current Alpha development projects are completed.

Compaq's transfer of technology and resources to Intel is expected to result in an acceleration and enhancement of Intel's Itanium processor roadmap, to which Compaq has clearly hitched its bandwagon. As part of the deal between Compaq and Intel also involves a program of joint engineering development focused on advanced parallelism for high-end computing.

The decision by Compaq to divest itself of its Alpha processor division is part of a wider plan to restructure itself as a services firm, a plan outlined in a leaked memo published here. ®

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