Intel’s Itanic is close to the end

The Consumer Electronics Show very conveniently  disguised the final death throes of Intel’s Itanium microprocessor – Oracle administered a serious blow to the chip during 2011 but remained a charter member of the Itanium Solutions Alliance (ISA) to the very end.

In the last week we reported how the Itanium Solutions page, hosted by Intel has been disappeared with virtually no traces left. The ISA, launched to fanfare in 2005 – had as members Intel, HP, NEC, SGI, Unisys, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, Oracle, SAP and SAS – as reported by ZD Net here. All of these competitors working together in perfect harmony. Right.

One observer close to the history of the Itanium told TechEye: “The very existence of ISA was striking. Can you think of another ISA (instruction set architecture) that needed a vendor-subsidised cheerleading org like ISA, where competitors meet to keep the platform on life support? I can’t. User groups, sure. ISA was, in my view, inherently doomed from the start,
and its creation was an admission of how bad things were.”

Something obviously happened to cause the redirect of the web site to Intel’s main site – we’re attempting to dig out what did happen. Closing the ISA is a serious loss of face – and one that Intel has done nothing to explain, publicly.

Intel Itanium die, er diesWe can only imagine how much money Intel poured into this failed venture – that’s not just the Alliance, of course, it is the very Itanium project itself – from its infancy to its dotage. The problem is, that unlike a large number of other projects initiated by Intel, this is a significant one and difficult to disappear from history.

I wonder if my Itanic artefacts, including the very die itself, will be collector items in the future, much like the Microsoft OS/2 mug in my collection. Die, eh?