Compaq, Samsung, and API to invest $500 million in Alpha Processor - InformationWeek

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Compaq, Samsung, and API to invest $500 million in Alpha Processor

Compaq, Samsung Electronics, and Alpha Processor, Inc. (API) will jointly spend $500 million over the next several years to further develop and market Compaq's Alpha microprocessor, the heart of the company's high-end servers, Compaq said today.

API produces peripheral components--such as chipsets and motherboards--that support the Alpha platform, while Samsung manufactures Alpha chips under contract to Compaq.

Compaq officials also said they will work to position Alpha as a processor for high-end systems in certain, well-defined markets, and that the investment should be seen as a sign that the company is committed to the technology for the long term.

"There's been a lot of confusion in the marketplace" over Compaq's Alpha strategy, conceded Bill Heil, VP and general manager of the company's business-critical server division. Earlier this year, Compaq said it would no longer offer Windows NT on its Alpha-based servers, a move that led some observers to believe that the company was backing away from the technology. Compaq acquired the Alpha chip in its 1998 acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp.

Heil made his comments during a conference call, adding that Compaq will position Alpha as an alternative to Intel processors in fixed-function servers, network appliances, and E-business infrastructures that require high levels of uptime and availability.

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