Taipei, Taiwan -- Via Technologies Inc. swatted the ball into Intel Corp.'s court by launching a chipset that supports the Pentium 4 processor without a license from the chip powerhouse.
Intel's biggest chipset rival, Via demonstrated its long-rumored P4 chipset for the first time at the Computex show in Taipei Tuesday. The Taipei-based company said it isn't worried about the lack of the license.
"My legal team told me that we won't have legal problems" amid the cross-licensing agreement Via has with S3 Inc, Via's president and chief executive Chen Wen-chi told reporters. Via declined to give details such as production and shipment schedule.
Taipei-based Via is the only chipset design house in Taiwan that Intel hasn't granted a license to, on concerns Via will surpass the Santa Clara, Calif.-based giant, analysts said. Last year, Intel lost a huge market share to Via's PC133 platform, which became an industry standard.
Chin Wu, president of Acer Labs Inc., the first Taiwan third party vendor to get an Intel Pentium 4 license, said his firm will introduce its chipset this year not long after Intel unveils its own Pentium 4 Brookdale SDRAM chipset, expected in the third quarter. All of the Intel Pentium 4 chipset licensees said they will wait on the timing of their introductions until Intel gives them the go-ahead.
Via didn't wait on Intel approval two years ago in rushing out its PC133 SDRAM chipset for Pentium III, touching off a bitter legal battle that was finally settled in mid-2000. Industry officials and analysts are watching Via's escalating Pentium 4 chipset challenge to see if there is a legal replay between the two firms.
ATI Technologies Inc., Markham, Ontario, and Taiwan's Silicon Integrated Systems Inc. and Acer Laboratories Inc. have received the P4 license.