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IBM ships 10 millionth GameCube chip

Big Blue is set to announce that it has delivered its 10 millionth PowerPC processor for Nintendo's GameCube console.

IBM plans to announce Friday that it has shipped its 10 millionth processor for Nintendo's GameCube console.

The Japanese game giant uses a customized version of IBM's PowerPC processor, dubbed "Gekko," for the GameCube. The console, which was introduced in Japan a year ago, was one of the first consumer-electronics devices to advertise the presence of IBM components.

IBM Microelectronics has been working to spread adoption of its PowerPC chip, encouraging manufacturers to use it as the basis for devices ranging from printers to network routers.

Nintendo reported sales of 3.8 million GameCube units at the end of its last fiscal year, March 30, and said it expects to have sold 16 million by the end of the current fiscal year.

Rival Sony announced this week that it has sold 40 million of its PlayStation 2 game machines. The PS2 is powered by the "Emotion Engine," a custom processor designed by Sony in conjunction with electronics conglomerate Toshiba.

Pulling up third in the game-console race is Microsoft's Xbox, which uses a standard version of Intel's Pentium III processor for PCs. Microsoft reported worldwide sales of 4 million Xbox units as of June 30. The company expects worldwide sales of 9 million to 11 million by the end of its current fiscal year, June 30, 2003.

While IBM partnered with Nintendo on the GameCube, it's also working with Sony on a chip that is likely to power the next version of the PlayStation. The Cell processor is being jointly developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, who have touted it as a "supercomputer on a chip."