Intel Says Pentium 4 on target

Intel said Friday its long-awaited Pentium 4 processors will ship in the fourth quarter, a schedule that the chip maker is standing by contrary to reports that the new devices have been delayed. "We've never delayed it; there's been no announcement for an announcement date yet," said Chuck Malloy, an Intel spokesman. "We talked dates [to customers and OEMs], but the date isn't official until we start inviting the press and analysts to an event," he said. Yesterday, reports circulated that the release of the Pentium 4 is slipping from October into November, according to sources at PC manufacturers. If the Pentium 4 doesn't launch until late November, vendors may not be able to rush out systems in time for the holiday buying season. Hype around the Pentium 4 has been building for months, and in August Intel displayed a P4 running at 2GHz. Meanwhile, the chip maker yesterday said it has scrapped plans to launch Timna, a highly integrated processor for low-cost PCs that had been due to hit the streets early next year. Technical problems had already forced Intel to push back the release of Timna from the second half of this year to the start of 2001. Ongoing technical difficulties, combined with the fact that PC makers have turned to other means to reduce overall PC system costs, led Intel to cancel the chip altogether, said Seth Walker, an Intel spokesman. "The market has continued to evolve since we began working on Timna, and many of the cost savings we originally believed would be achieved through the highly integrated design have already been achieved through ... other system cost reductions," Walker said. Intel's decision to cancel Timna may reflect changes in the PC market more than poor planning or execution on Intel's part, said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst with The Linley Group. "The Timna program started a couple of years ago, when it looked like the whole PC market was devolving to a £300 price point, but now things have stabilized, and PC makers tend to be focusing on those £500 and £799 price points," said Gwennap. Still, the news caps a difficult month for Intel. Last week Intel announced that its third-quarter financial performance would be weaker than expected because of slow demand in Europe .

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