Intel has reached an agreement to hire hundreds of Hewlett-Packard engineers who helped design the Itanium microprocessor, a massive joint project between the two technology companies since the early 1990s.
As a result, all Itanium processor design work will now be done entirely within Intel, though HP on Wednesday announced it plans to invest more than $3 billion over the next three years to continue its commitment to the chip.
The HP team, which is based in Fort Collins, Colo., will not have to relocate, said Intel spokesman Robert Manetta. Other terms of the agreement, which will be formally announced Thursday, were not released.
Itanium was conceived as a processor for high-end computers like servers and workstations. Specifically, it was supposed to displace Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) processors from IBM and Sun Microsystems.
But after nearly a decade of development, Itanium was launched in 2001 just as the tech bubble had popped and demand for high-end servers stagnated. Lower-priced chips like those used in personal computers also were becoming powerful enough to capture some of the business.
Still, the RISC server market remains extremely lucrative, estimated to have about $20 billion a year in sales.
"The addition of this world-class design team to Intel's industry leading capabilities will further strengthen the product line," said Paul Otellini, Intel's chief operating officer.
HP's investment will cover research and investment, server and system software design, applications as well as sales and marketing, the companies said.
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