Intel Halts Development of 2 New Microprocessors
By LAURIE J. FLYNN
Published: May 8, 2004
AN FRANCISCO, May 7 - Intel said on Friday that it was scrapping its development of two microprocessors, a move that is a shift in the company's business strategy.
Intel, the world's largest semiconductor manufacturer, said it canceled plans for Tejas, the code name for Intel's successor to the Pentium 4 chip, which is widely used in desktop personal computers. A second chip in development, code-named Jayhawk and intended for use in server computers, has also been canceled.
"We are reprioritizing and revamping our road map," said Laura Anderson, an Intel spokeswoman. Ms. Anderson said Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., had decided to focus its development efforts on "dual core" processors instead of single- core processors, like Tejas.
Dual-core technology refers to a processor with two engines instead of one, allowing for greater efficiency because the processor workload is essentially shared.
Dual-core processors provide better performance for multimedia and home entertainment uses.
"We're taking advantage of an opportunity," Ms. Anderson said. "This is a competitive move."
She said Intel was set to release a new dual-core processor for desktop PC's in 2005 and a version for servers sometime after that.
Intel executives said in February that the company was on track to ship a dual-core version of its Itanium processor in 2005.
Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, a consulting firm, said he saw Intel's shift as a consolidation, as well as a recognition that the company needs to focus on its most efficient projects. Nathan Brookwood, editor of the industry newsletter Insight 64, said Intel very likely decided it needed to shift resources to dual-core technology because software developers have spent the last year creating software that takes advantage of the technology. Last year, Intel announced another chip technology called hyperthreading, which allows software written for that technology to function as if there were two processors.
"The software environment is ready for this," Mr. Brookwood said. "That's a key difference between now and a year ago."
Mr. Brookwood said the shift was also an indication that the Intel Pentium 4 line had reached its performance limit for the amount of power it consumed. "They concluded they'd be doing an awful lot of work for little gain," Mr. Brookwood said.
The company declined to discuss how many employees would be affected by the shift, or how much Intel had invested in Tejas development so far. Engineers working on Tejas will be reassigned to other projects.
Intel executives had first disclosed details of Tejas in early 2003, saying they planned to launch it sometime in 2004, but the project was later postponed to 2005. Prescott, the predecessor to Tejas that is now called Pentium 4, also faced development delays before it was finally released in February. Analysts have attributed some of the delays to problems with heat and power consumption.
"Intel clearly has been struggling with the thermal properties of Prescott," Mr. Brookwood said.
Dotham, a successor to the Pentium M chip used in notebook PC's, has faced similar delays, but is now scheduled for release on Monday. Dotham is the first notebook chip to use the 90-nanometer manufacturing process. The chip, originally scheduled for release in February, offers higher performance than its predecessor.