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Cyrix buoyed by IBM friendship

With newly found buddy IBM by its side, microprocessor vendor Cyrix is becoming more confident about pushing onto Intel's turf.

With newly found buddy IBM by its side, microprocessor vendor Cyrix is becoming more confident about pushing onto Intel's turf.

Cyrix's confidence comes partly from IBM's plan to expand its use of Cyrix 6x86 processors in the popular Aptiva line of consumer PCs this spring, said a source familiar with ongoing discussions between the two companies.

IBM's endorsement of the Cyrix 6x86 technology--the first from a top-tier U.S. PC vendor--gives Cyrix an instant credibility boost, analysts say.

"The acceptance [of the Cyrix processor] has been implicit at [the IBM PC Company] for a while now. The Cyrix 6x86 is a respectable product. It's really just a matter of [IBM] using it now," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at market research firm Dataquest.

IBM has already announced that it will use the lower-performance 5x86 processors in coming ThinkPad notebook models, but the 6x86 processor rivals the 166-MHz Intel Pentium processor in performance, the source said.

Still, while Cyrix is getting closer with IBM, some of its older customers are drifting away. AST Research, previously a large user of Cyrix processors in its consumer PC line, is now moving back into the Intel fold, an AST spokesperson said.

And Compaq's long search for an alternative processor has sputtered to an end, with Compaq now firmly allied with Intel--a development almost unthinkable a year ago.

"Forget Compaq. You can't get near them after the AMD debacle," an industry source said, referring to Compaq's failed strategy to source Pentium-class processors from microprocessor manufacturer AMD.

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Cyrix tries to match Intel
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