Intel expected to answer Itanium conundrum this week

As far as we recall, when the FTC settled matters between the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and Intel, the chip giant was required to honour the contracts made to large US government departments to continue building Alpha chips.

The Alpha, was of course, the supreme chip which DEC held would stay good until the year 2025, although DEC’s plot when it launched the processor was to eventually migrate it to notebooks, something that seemed very unlikely at the time.

Dirk Meyer, latterly at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was on the original Alpha team and just like OS/2, the Alpha never really seems to go away or die the death.

As far as we remember, Intel also acquired an ARM licence or two at the time of the DEC agreement, but foolishly decided – much against my advice to use it to make a really light powerful reference design that cost peanuts and ran Volish Windows.

But we believe that the DEC agreement, now brokered by HP of course, runs out in 2015 and we fully anticipate that despite Intel’s commitment to the Itanium, continuing commitment of course, that chip will expire with barely a gasp, a whisper or a  rattling of the throat in 2015 too.

It is a long long time ago, of course, but when Intel showed off a real Itanium at an IDF in 1998 or so, it was confidently predicting that by 2004 it would be a gaming chip.

Of course the Xeon has borged the Itanium and all that SPARCy stuff too. But few could have predicted the Itanic would  stagger on for so long. Few would have predicted that I’d stagger on so long too, but methinks that is a story of a different sort of shrinking of the die.

* The new Intel vouchers are continuing to work well. So well in fact that quite a few people here  have been to the Apple Store seeing if the credit card works for their Apple must haves.