Intel and a group of industry partners have pledged to invest another US$10 billion over the next five years to help develop and promote products based on the Itanium processor. Though short on details, the announcement shows that neither Intel nor its partners plan to give up on Itanium any time soon
The US$10 billion investment will be made between through 2010 and will come from a variety of computer vendors, including Bull, Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems, Hewlett-Packard, NEC, Silicon Graphics, and Unisys.
The money will be spent on research and development, sales and marketing, and supporting software vendors as they port applications to Itanium, the companies said in a statement. Some unspecified percentage of this money will go to the Itanium Solutions Alliance, an organization launched in September 2005 to promote the Itanium architecture.
The announcement was made Thursday at an Itanium Solutions Alliance strategy meeting, held in San Francisco.
Executives participating in the announcement could not say whether this represented an increase in the expected overall investment in Itanium. They characterized the news as another move to show customers that the platform continued to gain widespread support.
"By bringing these allies together, there is truly more of a global, end-to-end offering," said Thomas Kilroy, vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group.
Itanium can use all the help it can get. Nearly five years after the first Itanium systems were introduced, servers based on the processor account for less than 1 percent of the market, when measured by units shipped, according to research firm Gartner.
One Itanium user said that the Itanium Alliance had already made the platform more appealing by helping him gain access to things like better compilers. "Technology is completely useless unless you have a social network that it is supporting," said John Graham, chief scientist with San Diego State University. "We know that there's going to be life in this product, and we know that there are going to be deals that we can get from the partner programs."
Graham welcomed the latest US$10 billion investment. "I hope I get some," he said.