Intel steps up pressure on VIA

Promises to sue makers of unauthorised Pentium 4 chipsets

Intel has stressed that it will consider using legal action against anyone who produces a Pentium 4 chipset without its approval.

Chen Chun-shen, president of Intel's Asia-Pacific operation, reiterated that only three Taiwanese firms have the company's permission to produce P4 chipsets and that those who haven't will face legal action, according to a Taiwan Economic News report.

Intel will not hesitate to sue companies that make and market such chipsets without its authorisation, he said.

The comment was clearly directed against VIA, which has been showing its P4X266 DDR-based chipste this week at CeBit Asia. So too have authorised producer SiS. Acer Labs and ADI also have Intel's say-so to offer a P4 chipset.

For its part, VIA said it has begun volume production and that it's still in talks with Intel to gain the chip giant's approval. VIA argues that it already has the right to produce a P4 chipset, thanks to licences obtained when it bought S3 Graphics. Not so, counters Intel. The two companies have been seeking a compromise for months, but with little sign of success.

Taiwanese sources claim VIA will charge between $25 and $30 for the P4X266, rather less than the $38 Intel is expected to charge for its single data-rate SDRAM-based i845 chipset, due to be launched on 26 August. ®