PIII mobile ready, but not yet

Intel has once again come under fire for failing to deliver a chip on time, but this time the company claims it is not at fault and has nothing to hide.

Published reports last week suggest that Intel was forced to delay the launch of the mobile Pentium III processor from September to November because of product glitches. However, the chip giant had a different story to tell.

Intel officials say the confusion dates from one month ago, when the desktop version of the 0.18-micron mobile processor -- code-named Coppermine -- was delayed from September to November. At that time, the officials say, PC manufacturers were given the choice of launching notebooks with the mobile Pentium III in September as planned, or in November in conjunction with the desktop chips.

Intel claims the vendors agreed to hold off the mobile launch so the desktop and mobile products could be announced together in November. It was the manufacturers' decision, and not product glitches, that led to the delayed launch of the mobile chip, Intel representatives say.

Most notebook vendors were unwilling to comment on the explosive issue, but one of the top four vendors confirmed Intel's version of the events under condition of anonymity.

"That is more or less my recollection of the events," said an official from the notebook vendor.

Intel accepts its part of the responsibility for the confusion caused by delaying the launch of the desktop Coppermine chips in the first place. But the company maintains the decision to hold off the launch of the mobile version was that of the manufacturers.

"We didn't do anybody any favours by getting Coppermine out later," says Seth Walker, an Intel spokesperson. "But the mobile stuff is ready."

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