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Apple drops Exponential chip

In another blow to the beleaguered chipmaker, Apple announces it has no plans to use the hotly awaited X704 processor.

SAN JOSE, California--Apple will not ship a computer that uses the X704 processor from Exponential Technology in the next year, an Apple executive said today at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference, dealing yet another blow to the beleaguered chipmaker.

The decision could mark a serious blow to Exponential's efforts to market a high-performance processor based on the PowerPC design. Exponential, which has been developing a highly touted 533-MHz PowerPC processor for Macs, announced last week that it is laying off 25 percent of its workforce and could only deliver a 410-MHz processor by the third quarter of this year.

"We didn't see a significant performance advantage vs. what we were getting from the G3 processor from IBM and Motorola," said Phil Schiller, vice president of desktop and server product marketing for Apple. "We will not ship an Exponential processor in our product line in the next year. We just didn't see any benefit to our customers," he said, noting that if Exponential could ship a faster processor, Apple might rethink its plans.

Exponential's 533-Mhz X704 processor was originally planned for release this July.

G3 is the generic name that refers to the next generation of PowerPC processors that will debut at slower speeds than the Exponential chip but will have other enhancements to boost performance. The G3 processors, code-named Mach 5 and Arthur, reportedly will also cost significantly less than Exponential's processor.

The X704 processor is a PowerPC-compatible chip designed for such applications as desktop publishing, multimedia authoring, and image processing.