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NEC chip heretic was not Fisted

Tall man implicated in tall tale

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We reported here that an outspoken critic of Itanium at NEC Leonard Tsai had lost his job because of remarks made about the troubled processor.

Tsai's tall tale implicated a very tall man: Intel server chief "Iron" Mike Fister, an affable chap who earned his Register nickname "The Fist", after his bonecrushing handsake at a roundtable here a few years ago obliged us to write up the rest of the session left-handed, producing Jack-the-Ripper style notes we still can't read to this day. (We've packed a boxing glove ever since).

According to published accounts, Tsai made some uninhibited, and very disparaging remarks about the IA-64 instruction set at a panel at Bert McComas' Platforms Conference in mid-July. NEC is an Itanic OEM, and recently debuted 16-way I2 systems. Tsai's remarks were gleefully cited by NEC rival Sun. Tsai then left NEC on August 1.

"Beware The Fist!", we warned.

Alas Tsai had already received his marching orders from NEC at the end of July, as his small Silicon Valley team was disbanded. So the notice was not linked to his remarks at the Platforms Conference.

Tsai still seems determined to have us believe that he's at the center of a conspiracy. He might be, but he's not very persuasive. When we caught up with him at home, we asked why he had with held this rather germane piece of information.

"I gave very specific answers to a set of questions," he told us.

So was his dismissal related to his Itanic skepticism?

"I can't comment on that. Officially…" he said. So what could he tell us unofficially? Absolutely nothing, it turned out. So until we he can provide a smoking pistol, we suggest taking Tsai's version of the story with a large quantity of salt. ®

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