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IBM's Sales Fall 5 Percent In Chip Unit

SAN JOSE, Calif. — IBM Corp. on Monday (July 18) reported a decline in sales within its microelectronics unit amid an ongoing transition to the consumer-chip market.

Sales within IBM’s Microelectronics Group fell 5 percent in the second quarter, compared to the like period a year ago. The decline comes as the company is moving towards the “gaming processor market in the second half,” said Mark Loughridge, chief financial officer for the computer giant, during a conference call with analysts.

The CFO dropped hints that its chip and foundry business are still losing money. He said one of the goals for the unit is to attain “profitability.” He did not break out the exact sales or profits for the group.

Meanwhile, on the consumer-chip front,
IBM has garnered design wins for its embedded processor line from game-machine vendors, including Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp.

But in June, Apple Computer Inc. said it will use Intel Corp.'s x86-based microprocessors for its Mac computers, thereby ending its MPU partnership with IBM. Apple has used IBM's PowerPC processors within its Mac computers since 1994. But IBM reportedly experienced an assortment of delays and supply problems for the PowerPC to Apple (see June 4 story).

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