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Intel: Back to engineering basics

Cheekymonkey wonders if this includes the antics of their marketing department :)

After nearly two years of product delays, bugs, shortages and recalls, Intel says it has rooted out its operational problems--just in time to deal with potentially thornier pricing and market issues.

"You had some particular causal events that drove us to the situation of a year and a year and a half ago," Paul Otellini, general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, said in a recent interview. Struggles with Rambus problems and chip shortages were just some of the issues on Intel's plate at that time.

"We went back to basics on basic engineering disciplines, and we're now doing the stuff that for all but two years of our 31-year history we did very well."

Analysts agree, but caution that problems may still lurk. A 900MHz Xeon chip for multiprocessor servers, for instance, was pulled off the market in July because of a bug. The processor re-emerged last week. A larger hurdle for the chip giant may lay in soft demand for processors and plummeting prices. Intel is scheduled to give its midquarter sales update to Wall Street analysts late Thursday. Avoiding manufacturing problems will be crucial in both curbing competition from Advanced Micro Devices and fulfilling a fairly ambitious product strategy. Some of the company's upcoming projects:

· Pentium 4 notebooks are expected by the first half of next year.

· A new chip called "Banias," designed to dramatically reduce power consumption, is slated for 2003.

· A new version of the XScale processor will appear in handheld computers early next year.

· In servers, demo units of McKinley, the touted successor to the current Itanium chip, will come out at the end of this year.

News source: ZDNet

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