Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ibm Halts Pentium PC Shipments Chip Maker Intel Rips Rival's Action

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ibm Halts Pentium PC Shipments Chip Maker Intel Rips Rival's Action

Article excerpt

IBM said Monday it halted shipments of personal computers made with the advanced Pentium chip, sparking a dispute with chipmaker Intel Corp. over just how bad the flaw was in the brains of the high-powered PCs.

International Business Machines Corp. said the bug in the Pentium could affect everyday business accounting calculations. Intel said the flaw would affect only scientific or advanced mathematics.

IBM's statement was a red flag for Christmas shoppers who may be about to upgrade their PC systems to the Pentium - the most advanced PC system on the market. "This is going to cause customers to think twice before buying Pentium," said Sam Albert, a computer consultant based in Scarsdale, N.Y.

The chips are the center of the PC, its brains for calculations, word processing and other functions. IBM, the largest computer maker in the world, said it would replace any faulty chips free of charge - a promise Intel made as well.

Facing a growing public relations emergency over the chips, Intel called IBM's action unwarranted and said that tests could be created to force the error to occur.

In St. Louis, the chip problem did not appear to be causing much concern among computer shoppers.

"We have talked with some customers about it and explained it, and the customer has gone ahead and bought the computer with the new chip in it," said David Zekert, a sales representative at a Circuit City store in Crestwood. "We have other customers who have had the machines for some time who say they have never seen evidence of a problem."

Thomas Schulte, purchasing manager at Comp USA, said: "We have not seen any downside to the recent stories - no particular reaction by customers. Intel says it will take care of the problem.

"Some corporate customers may sway away from the chip for a while, but it will be fixed. It doesn't seem likely that it will affect home users. …

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